Racial discrimination in the sharing economy : evidence from online experiments
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- Master Thesis 
Racial discrimination in the sharing economy is a topic drawing increasing attention. The short-term rental company Airbnb implemented several initiatives aiming to limit discrimination on its platform. Yet, it did not solve the issue and the users’ social responsibility involved in the peer-to-peer service adds complexity to the case. Recent studies assessed racial discrimination in the sharing economy, and more particularly on Airbnb. This thesis analyses discrimination based on host’s ethnicity in Airbnb’s services with data from 2 online experiments in the aim to understand who discriminates, why do people discriminate and what service triggers discriminatory outcomes. Data analysis provided cross-cultural insights between Norway and Belgium. Right-wingers and individuals with a high level of perceived outgroup threat appeared to discriminate against the outgroup host. Oppositely, left-wingers and individuals with a low level of perceived outgroup threat appeared to discriminate in favor the outgroup host. Results showed that people discriminate based on their self-connection with the apartment. In the home swap service context, the self-other overlap was also a basis for discrimination. Finally, three nudges to tackle racial discrimination on Airbnb are suggested: encouraging mutual reviews, rating the accuracy of accommodation’s pictures, and increasing information about the host. Further research is needed to assess their power in reducing implicit bias in the decision process.