Ethnic discrimination on the shared short-term rental market of Airbnb: evidence from a correspondence study in Belgium

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Although studies have shown ethnic discrimination in the sharing economy, there is surprisingly little research about discrimination on Airbnb. As the first correspondence study after the anti-discrimination directive launched by Airbnb in 2016, we examine to which extent there is still ethnic discrimination against guests on Airbnb. We conducted 1043 correspondence tests on the Airbnb platform in Belgium during the Covid-summer of 2021. Guests with Moroccan-sounding names have 6.9% lower acceptance rates than those with Belgian-sounding names, while there is no discrimination against guests of Polish origin. Non-professional Airbnb hosts tend to discriminate much less than professional hosts. The ethnic difference in acceptance rates between Belgian and Moroccan guests accrues to 14.7% among professional hosts, while there is no discrimination by non-professional hosts. Moreover, revealing the vaccination status of the guest does not impact the level of discrimination. These findings suggest that the anti-discrimination policy of Airbnb is insufficient.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103423
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been funded by Innoviris (project number 2019-PRB-10 ).

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