Airbnb hosts routinely reject guests with disabilities, sometimes when they have even advertised their homes as wheelchair accessible, according to a new study that adds to growing concerns about discrimination in the sharing economy.
A Rutgers University study of nearly 4,000 requests for lodging on the home-sharing platform found that guests with blindness, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and spinal cord injury were refused at rates higher than people without disabilities. In some instances, hosts who claimed that their homes were accessible were also more likely to approve guests without disabilities, according to the research published Friday.
As part of a randomized field test, the researchers created fake Airbnb accounts and made requests for homes across the country, disclosing various disabilities to potential hosts. While the approval rate was 75% for guests without disabilities, the rates dropped for those who mentioned their conditions – 61% for dwarfism, 50% for blindness, 43% for cerebral palsy and 25% for spinal cord injury.
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