HomeAsian AmericansAsian Airbnb hosts discriminated against during pandemic, study finds

Asian Airbnb hosts discriminated against during pandemic, study finds

Asian American businesses have suffered throughout the pandemic. Now, a new study has found that fewer people booked homes with Asian-American hosts in 2020.

According to The Boston Globe, researchers at Harvard pulled data from Airbnbs in New York City. In a working paper published this month, researchers said the company’s design choices made it easier for customers to discriminate because it listed hosts’ names.

“If you give people information about race without being thoughtful about what it’s going to do, you are in some ways setting it up to facilitate discrimination,” said Michael Luca, co-author of the study and an associate professor at Harvard Business School, according to The Boston Globe.

The study found that hosts with “distinctively Asian names” saw a 12 percent drop in bookings after January 2020, Market Watch reports.

“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, according to Market Watch.

Airbnb issued a statement to Market Watch saying it would continue to fight discrimination.

“We condemn all forms of discrimination and are committed to fighting it proactively,” an Airbnb spokesperson told MarketWatch in a statement. “In 2020, we launched Project Lighthouse, a groundbreaking initiative aimed to uncover and measure discrimination when booking or hosting on Airbnb so that we can continue to develop strategies to combat it.”

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