Study claims Airbnb is great for your neighborhood’s economy, if it’s predominantly white

Airbnb guests staying in predominantly white neighborhoods are more likely to shop around in local businesses such as restaurants than those staying in mostly black or Hispanic neighborhoods, according to a new study by researchers at Purdue University.

People who use the rental platform of a house to stay in a big city, like New York, for example, tend to eat at the local restaurants near the place where they stay. But this effect is not true when more than half of the residents of a neighborhood were black or Hispanic, according to the authors of the study.

"Airbnb has made repeated claims that it helps the local economy in black neighborhoods, especially in New York City" said Mohammad Rahman, a professor at Purdue University and co-author of the study, in a statement The Washington Post [19659005].

His team collected data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census and Airbnb for 42 neighborhoods in New York City, the most visited and active city on Airbnb in the US. UU., Along with 10 years of Yelp reviews for 34,000 restaurants in the city. The objective was to see how trends in housing exchanges added to employment trends in local restaurants. They discovered that the promised economic spill was not maintained across racial lines.

Neighborhoods with a booming population of Airbnb guests typically saw growth in people working for local restaurants, along with an increase in the Yelp review fee, which was a measure researchers used to reconfirm your labor findings. But these findings were not transferred to neighborhoods where the color population predominated, even if the Airbnb rental numbers were equally high.

The reason, as Rahman said The Washington Post could be due to an "uncomfortable reality" is that some visitors might feel less inclined to walk and have a look at local businesses in these neighborhoods, although they may be attracted by the affordable housing. Instead, Rahman added, they could use Airbnb as a place to sleep at the end of the day, while shared-car services such as Uber and Lyft allow them to travel to other neighborhoods and avoid exploring where they are staying. . Although this first study was conducted only in New York, they later expanded it and found similar patterns in Austin, Chicago, Portland and San Francisco.

These findings undermine Airbnb's long-standing reputation as a platform that provides an economic boost to local communities. According to the website, Airbnb guests "stay longer and spend more" in the "diverse" neighborhoods they visit, more than twice as much as a typical visitor. The company also claims that its New York-based guests spend more than 30 percent of their money in the neighborhoods where they stay and 95 percent of their hosts recommend local businesses.

This study (which is still a working document) is far from definitive. There are other factors apart from the proximity that influence the restaurant that a person decides to visit, such as the type of cuisine a person is in the mood for or what they are used to in their city, state or country. And although Rahman used Yelp reviews to support existing government data, revisions remain limited. Not everyone who visits a restaurant leaves a Yelp review, and the study even pointed out that only eight of the 42 neighborhoods surveyed counted for the overwhelming majority of Yelp visitor reviews in 2015.

Cut the study in 2015 it is another point of contention of the company with the findings. Airbnb has seen stripes of new users in Queens and the Bronx over the past three years, he says. It has also taken steps to foster relationships with local businesses, including a recent partnership with the Queens Chamber of Commerce that brought together hosts from the Jamaica area to meet with neighboring shop owners and restaurants.

"Airbnb undoubtedly drives local businesses – Airbnb generated $ 2.8 billion in economic activity in New York City in 2016," company representative Nick Papas said in a statement. "But using a subjective and voluntary contribution such as Yelp reviews to draw conclusions in what is intended to be a rigorous analysis is incorrect." As a result, he said, the study is "deeply flawed."

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