The Silent Treatment: LGBT Discrimination in the Sharing Economy
Rishi Ahuja () and
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Rishi Ahuja: Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin
Economic Papers from Trinity College Dublin, Economics Department
Online marketplaces were built with the implicit promise of reducing discrimination. Over time, though, online marketplaces have increasingly been designed to reduce anonymity as an exercise in trust building. While the reduction of anonymity can build trust, such design choices can also facilitate discrimination. This study is the first to examine whether there is discrimination against those in same-sex relationships (SSRs) in the sharing economy. Specifically, we examine whether SSRs face discrimination on the Airbnb platform in Dublin, Ireland, through a field experiment. We find that guests in implied male SSRs are approximately 20-30 percent less likely to be accepted than identical guests in implied opposite-sex relationships (OSRs) and in female SSRs. This difference is driven by non-responses from hosts, not outright rejection, and persists regardless of a variety of host and location characteristics, although male hosts and those with many listings are less likely to discriminate. Discrimination against male SSRs was observed least in the most desirable locations. The findings are not consistent with taste-based discrimination but, with little evidence for statistical discrimination, they raise something of a puzzle about the underlying source of discrimination against those in SSRs.
Keywords: discrimination; sharing economy; field experiment; Airbnb (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 R3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 18 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-exp, nep-mkt, nep-pay and nep-ure
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:tcd:tcduee:tep1917
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