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Airbnb Users Less Likely to Stay With Black Landlords, Study Says

20
Jan
2014

Uh oh—we knew Airbnb was kinda sketchy, legally, but we also just learned that its landlords might face a bunch of racial discrimination from its renters. Unlike with other online marketplaces, like eBay or Amazon, Airbnb’s design incorporates large profile pictures of its sellers. That design feature led Harvard Business School Professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca to conduct a study called “Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com,” wherein they evaluated how the race, gender, age and appearance of a landlord affected the prices of comparable listings in New York City. These differences highlight the risk of discrimination in online marketplaces, suggesting an important unintended consequence of a seemingly-routine mechanism for building trust.”

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