Monday, June 5, 2017

Gig Economy and Disability - AirBnB

A few weeks ago I wrote for Newsweek about Uber and its poor record on providing transportation for disabled folks.
In the gig economy, profits pour in based on dodging the requirements of the regulatory state that enforce equal accessibility, pay, lack of discrimination, and basic economic justice. When vulnerable populations complain, they are brushed off with token responses and denial of legal culpability. 
Here's another example:
Ms. Garcia, who is from El Paso, was planning a May trip with her family to the Chicago area and wanted to know if the places she was considering could accommodate her needs as someone with muscular dystrophy. Unfortunately, she said, her questions appeared to scare off at least two potential hosts.
She said she feels that if she had not mentioned her disability, “they would have rented to me, no issue.”

Ms. Garcia is not alone in feeling that way. Other users have reported similar bias, and a new Rutgers University study — based on more than 3,800 Airbnb lodging requests sent by the researchers — suggests it may be common: Travelers with disabilities are more likely to be rejected and less likely to receive preapproval, or temporary clearance, for a potential stay, the authors found.

Hosts granted preapproval to 75 percent of travelers who made no mention of a disability, according to the study. That rate fell to 61 percent for those who said they had dwarfism, 50 percent for those with blindness, 43 percent for those with cerebral palsy and just 25 percent for those with spinal cord injuries.
1) Schur, the author of the Rutgers study, does great work.
2) This is the same phenomenon as with Uber. Dodging the regulatory state leads to discrimination.


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