The Real Deal New York

African-American hosts rent homes for 12% less: study

January 22, 2014 02:00PM

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airbnb-founders (1)

From left: Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky

The layout and user design of Airbnb’s website makes it easier for would-be renters to discriminate against African-Americans, according to a new Harvard Business School study.

The study, titled “Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com,” African-American hosts receive a bigger price penalty for receiving a weak location score compared to hosts of other races. Non-African-American hosts can charge an average 12 percent more than African-American hosts, if such features as quality, location and other rental traits are unchanged, the Jan. 10 report said.

The authors of the report, professors Michael Luca and Benjamin Edelman, make a case that the recently enlarged profile photos make skin color of the hosts unavoidable to the prospective Airbnb renter, Gawker reported. The data involved landlords in the city in 2012.

In response, the controversial peer-to-peer home rental startup said it is “committed to making Airbnb the most open, trusted, diverse, transparent community in the world.” [Gawker]Mark Maurer

  • SILKY SLIM

    The more things change…

    • CaveJohnNYC

      exactly…

  • CaveJohnNYC

    When Home Staging, Street Scenes, photos for appraisals, , etc. It is asked not to have pictures of People or Animals in the photos. Because, such photos can have an impact on the potential purchaser or lender…. Hence, here we have photos of the person renting out their space, illegal or not… However, it is PEER to PEER rental, and it is more of the user’s preference ( to say politely), over Airbnb’s intentions, for this result…. I am sure, if they did a deeper search and analysis, they will find that “attractiveness” , size, and other indicators received higher rents or more inquiries…

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