Racial Bias in the Sharing Economy and the Role of Trust and Self-Congruence

Katrine Berg Nødtvedt, Hallgeir Sjåstad, Siv Rosendahl Skard, Helge Thorbjørnsen, Jay J.Van Bavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rise of peer-to-peer platforms has represented one of the major economic and societal developments observed in the last decade. We investigated whether people engage in racial discrimination in the sharing economy, and how such discrimination might be explained and mitigated. Using a set of carefully controlled experiments (N = 1,599), including a pre-registered study on a nationally representative sample, we find causal evidence for racial discrimination. When an identical apartment is presented with a racial out-group (vs. in-group) host, people report more negative attitudes toward the apartment, lower intentions to rent it, and are 25% less likely to choose the apartment over a standard hotel room in an incentivized choice. Reduced self-congruence with apartments owned by out-group hosts mediates these effects. Left-leaning liberals rated the out-group host as more trustworthy than the in-group host in non-committing judgments and hypothetical choice, but showed the same in-group preference as right-leaning conservatives when making a real choice. Thus, people may overstate their moral and political aspirations when doing so is costfree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-528
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Racial bias
  • Self-congruence
  • Sharing economy
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Racial Bias in the Sharing Economy and the Role of Trust and Self-Congruence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this