The Sharing Economy and Discrimination : Evidence from a Field Experiment in Sweden
Abstract: To investigate whether there is unequal treatment for ethnic minorities in the sharing economy this paper conducts a field experiment on Airbnb in Sweden. The key findings report that inquiries from guests with Arabic-sounding names are 17 percentage points less likely to receive a booking invitation compared to guests with Swedish-sounding names. The discrimination is robust across host and listing characteristics. Furthermore, the results show that being associated with a lower social class decreases the probability of receiving a booking invitation for guests with Arabic-sounding names but not for guests with Swedish-sounding names, suggesting that the signal of social class is stronger for guests with Arabic-sounding names.
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