Airbnb guests staying in predominantly white neighborhoods are more likely to shop around at local businesses like restaurants than guests staying in neighborhoods that are mostly black or Hispanic, according to a new study from researchers at Purdue University. People who use the home-renting platform to stay in a big city, like New York, for example, tend to eat at local neighborhood restaurants close to where they’re staying. But this effect doesn’t hold true when more than half of a neighborhood’s residents were black or Hispanic, according to the study’s authors. “Airbnb has made repeated claims that it helps the local economy in black neighborhoods, especially in New York City,” said Mohammad Rahman, a Purdue University professor and co-author of the study, in a statement given to The Washington Post. His team pulled data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census, and Airbnb for 42 neighborhoods across New York City — the most visited and active Airbnb city in the US — along with 10 years’ worth of Yelp reviews for 34,000 of the city’s restaurants. The goal was to see how trends in home sharing stacked against trends with local restaurant employment. They found that the promised economic spillover didn’t hold up across racial lines. Neighborhoods with a booming population of Airbnb guests typically did see a growth in people working for local restaurants, along with a surge in the share of Yelp reviews, which was a measure the researchers used to reconfirm their employment findings. But these… [Read full story]
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