Is the sharing economy leaving anyone behind?

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Asians in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., may earn on average $90 less per week or 20 percent less than white hosts when renting out similar one-bedroom apartments that they list on Airbnb’s vacation rental website, according to a study, which appears online in Technology Science, a journal published by the Data Privacy Lab at Harvard University.

Authors of the study, Harvard College students John Gilheany, David Wang, and Stephen Xi, looked through rentals from 101 white and Asian hosts in April 2015. After controlling for the quality of the apartment, such as the number of bedrooms and the number of potential occupants, they still found race to be a significant factor in determining the likely price for a weeklong rental. This result builds on the previous finding from Harvard Business School professors Ben Edelman and Michael Luca, which showed blacks in New York City receive 12 percent less for their rentals on Airbnb than other hosts.