: ‘Scapegoating minority groups can shape markets’: Asian-American Airbnb hosts saw a marked decline in bookings during the pandemic

by | Aug 15, 2022 | Stock Market

Asian Americans have been the target of racist abuse and physical assaults since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but their ability to make money as hosts on the online house-sharing platform Airbnb has also been significantly impacted. That’s according to a new working paper by economists at Harvard Business School, the Département Sciences Économiques et Sociales at Télécom Paris, a public college that specializes in higher education and engineering, and Université Paris Dauphine-PSL. 

“After January 2020, hosts with distinctively Asian names experienced a 12% decline in guests as proxied by reviews, relative to hosts with White-sounding names,” researchers Michael Luca, Michelangelo Rossi and Elizaveta Pronkina wrote in their paper.  A rise in anti-Asian sentiment has translated to discrimination in economic activity, they said, “highlighting the ways in which scapegoating minority groups can shape markets.” “Our results also point to the role of platform design choices in enabling discrimination,” the authors added. The working paper, which was distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday, adjusted for hosts who may have been reluctant to accept guests, and repeated their analysis — based on booking frequency and reviews — on “instant booking” options. “We do not observe spikes in discrimination against Black or Hispanic hosts, relative to pre-pandemic levels, which further suggests that the results reflect the anti-Asian discrimination that increased during the pandemic,” the researchers wrote in their paper. The company previously annou …

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