Anya Marchenko
Home CV Research


The impact of host race and gender on prices on Airbnb
Journal of Housing Economics (2019)

This study investigates the impact of host race and gender on Airbnb property prices. I use an existing dataset of Airbnb listings and visually inspect 70,000 host profile pictures to code host demographics. I estimate that Asian hosts earn 4–5%, and Black male hosts 3%, less than White males for the same type of property. However, controlling for more observables weakens the effects, requiring a cautious interpretation of these point estimates. I use two proxies for the number of bookings a listing has to estimate whether a demand or supply shift is responsible for the price disparity. I find that despite the lower prices they charge for listings, minority hosts face lower demand. These findings are consistent with, but not conclusive of, the presence of discrimination.

Working Papers

Constrained in location: market competition, commuting time, and the gender profit gap
(with Solène Delecourt, Anne Fitzpatrick, and Layna Lowe)

Gender inequality is ubiquitous, including among small business owners in developing countries, which constitute the majority of businesses worldwide. To understand inequality in business performance, research has primarily focused on improving the performance of existing firms by providing capital, advice, or training. These strategies often increase the performance of male-, but not female-owned, firms. In this paper, we explore whether gender differences in a business' initial conditions can help explain this puzzle. If men and women start different kinds of businesses, and those initial choices affect profitability but are hard to change ex-post (are "sticky"), this may limit potential profitability. To answer this question, we use rich quantitative data from a representative sample of 3,077 businesses in Kenya. In this context, women make 47% fewer profits than men. We find that women tend to locate their businesses in less profitable locations. While firm profits grow with the distance from home, women are more likely to locate their businesses close to home. Using census data of all firms in the study area, we find that male entrepreneurs locate in places with less competition. Male business owners are over five times more likely to be a monopolist in their sector within a specific radius than women. Though sector and location are important for profits, the majority of owners do not update these initial decisions after founding their business: in the two years preceding our study, only 7% of entrepreneurs changed either sector or location. Our findings suggest that these sticky conditions are more binding for women with greater childcare responsibilities than for men or other women. Our results point to the importance of initial conditions in perpetuating the gender gap among small firms in developing countries.

Work in Progress

Impact of MeToo on sexual harassment discrimination (with Bobby Pakzad-Hurson)