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Ethnic Discrimination on an Online Marketplace of Vacation Rental

Listed author(s):
  • Morgane Laouénan

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Roland Rathelot

    (University of Warwick [Coventry])

We use data from an online marketplace of vacation rentals (Airbnb) collected in 19 major cities in North America and Europe to measure discrimination against ethnicminority hosts. This market has three interesting features: the existence of a detailed reviewing system, the high frequency of transactions and the panel dimension of the data. Using the fact that ratings provide potential guests with information about the quality of a listing, we build a credible measure of statistical discrimination, following a strategy a la Altonji and Pierret (2001). Hosts from a minority ethnic group charge 16% less than other hosts in the same cities. Controlling for a rich set of characteristics reduces the ethnic price gap to 3.2%. An additional review increases the daily price more for minority than for majority hosts. Estimating the parameters of a theoretical pricing model, we find that statistical discrimination accounts for most of the price differential: 2.5 percentage points.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number hal-01514713.

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Date of creation: 26 Apr 2017
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-01514713
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01514713
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  1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
  2. Jennifer L. Doleac & Luke C.D. Stein, 2013. "The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(11), pages 469-492, November.
  3. Michael Ewens & Bryan Tomlin & Liang Choon Wang, 2014. "Statistical Discrimination or Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 119-134, March.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
  5. Agrawal, Ajay & Lacetera, Nicola & Lyons, Elizabeth, 2016. "Does standardized information in online markets disproportionately benefit job applicants from less developed countries?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 1-12.
  6. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89.
  7. David H. Autor & David Scarborough, 2008. "Does Job Testing Harm Minority Workers? Evidence from Retail Establishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 219-277.
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