Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Combatting racial bias in the sharing economy

by Alex Cohen and Austin Cross | Take Two®

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The driver rating screen in an Uber app BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this year, the hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack exposed hidden biases in the world of short term rentals. 

Prospective black renters who used the booking site found their requests to stay were frequently denied. A later study revealed it was no coincidence. 

Now, new data from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that similar problems persist on ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft. Black researchers found that they waited much longer for rides; travelers with "black-sounding" names faced cancellation rates three times the average. 

The online sharing economy has few regulations when it comes to how service providers are allowed to operate. 

So what is the sharing economy to do when everyday prejudices play out in a digital marketplace? 

For answers, Take Two spoke to Arun Sundararajan, professor of business at New York University and author of the book "The Sharing Economy."

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview. 

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