Tag: discrimination

Imagine you and your significant other finally carved out some time for a vacation getaway. You did your research—booked flights, picked a few promising restaurants, dug up your favorite fanny pack—and now it’s time to find a place to stay.

You’ve heard a lot about Airbnb, so you decide to give it a try. After some deliberation, you’ve both agreed on a place within walking distance of all the local attractions, so you send a request to the owner.

But after a couple hours, you get a message from Airbnb saying that your request has been denied without explanation. For a significant number of Airbnb users, this scenario is all too real.

Dennis Zhang

Dennis Zhang

In the Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation’s latest video, Dennis Zhang, Olin assistant professor of operations and manufacturing management, discusses the topic of racial discrimination on peer-to-peer platforms.

According to Zhang, Airbnb requests made by accounts with distinctly African American names were 19 percent less likely to be accepted compared to other accounts. However, if those accounts have additional review data (i.e., at least one positive or negative review), all accounts are equally likely to be accepted.

Zhang believes that people require a bit more information to nudge them in a non-discriminatory direction. He thinks that if Airbnb offered more information within the platform, it would reduce the likelihood of discrimination by those looking to rent out their space.

Zhang goes on to mention that platforms conducting business via peer-to-peer transactions face a higher likelihood of discrimination. He says that discovering how discrimination happens on those platforms is a critical step to ensuring equal consumer treatment. Zhang’s research emphasizes the importance of information, and hopes it will be effective in the fight against discrimination.

[RELATED: Airbnb nondiscrimination policy may backfire]

According to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months, to earn what men did by the end of the previous year.

Michelle Duguid

Michelle Duguid

Olin’s Michelle Duguid, associate professor of organizational behavior, tells KMOX radio there is a  difference in how the sexes are perceived in the workplace.

“Research shows that if we do everything that men do, we don’t always get the same results,” she says. “Sometimes there’s a backlash.”

Duguid says her research shows women don’t necessarily face blatant discrimination, but more of an unconscious bias.
Link to KMOX series, “79 cents on the Dollar,” aired March 29, 2016.

In this video from the Pew Research Center, take a closer look at the nuances behind the pay gap — including why it has narrowed but persisted over time — and examine in new detail how different groups of young women entering the workforce since the 1980s have fared. Read the report, “On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity — For Now”

In several experiments, Olin professor Michelle Duguid and Prof. Melissa Thomas-Hunt of the University of Virginia studied whether making people aware of bias would lessen it. Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg discuss the research in the first of a four-part series about women in the workplace for The New York Times, Dec. 6, 2014, “When Talking About Bias Backfires.”

Adam Grant is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Give and Take.” Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and the founder of LeanIn.org.