Diversity and Inclusion in the Sharing Economy: An Airbnb Case Study


  • Giovanni Quattrone Middlesex University University of Turin
  • Licia Capra University College London (UCL)




The sharing economy model is a contested concept: on one hand, its proponents have praised it to be enabler of fair marketplaces, with all participants receiving equal opportunities; on the other hand, its detractors have criticised it for actually exacerbating preexisting societal inequalities. In this paper, we propose a scalable quantitative method to measure participants' diversity and inclusion in such marketplaces, with the aim to offer evidence to ground this debate. We apply the method to the case of the Airbnb hospitality service for the city of London, UK. Our findings reveal that diversity is high for gender, but not so for age and ethnicity. As for inclusion, we find strong signals of homophily both in terms of gender, age and ethnicity, thus suggesting that under-represented groups have significantly fewer opportunities to gain from this market model. Interestingly, the sentiment associated to same-group (homophilic) interactions is just as positive as that associated to heterophilic ones, even after controlling for Airbnb property's type, price and location. This suggests that increased diversity and inclusion are desirable not only for moral but also for economic and market reasons.




How to Cite

Quattrone, G., & Capra, L. (2024). Diversity and Inclusion in the Sharing Economy: An Airbnb Case Study. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 18(1), 1289-1301. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v18i1.31389