Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Online Marketplaces and Racial Discrimination

 New Harvard research show online marketplaces like Airbnb inadvertently fuel racial discrimination." Analyzing a data set that focuses on New York City (the company's biggest market), the researchers found that black hosts charged approximately 12 percent less for rentals than nonblack hosts—even when the properties were equivalent in terms of location and quality." The research raises some interesting questions on linking your Facebook page to online sites, importance of profile pictures and the placement of these pictures, policies on online marketplaces that might inadvertently promote racial discrimination. 

"But the "pricing" section of the website advises that new hosts set rates with market demand in mind. For example, Airbnb tells new hosts they "may want to charge lower than average rates to attract travelers comparing your place with existing reviews. Once you have a review or two, adjust your rates as needed."
The researchers interpret black hosts' lower prices as evidence of a similar, but permanent, disadvantage. In particular, they maintain that their findings show how black hosts have a harder than average time attracting travelers, and therefore must keep their prices lower than average in order to compete successfully."

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Report Provides Details of North Minneapolis Housing Conditions

A detailed neighborhood analysis of housing conditions in North Minneapolis done by the Minneapolis Fed provides a good picture on the opportunities and challenges there. Overall the report found: "the housing market in North Minneapolis varies from neighborhood to neighborhood and even from block to block. In general, the housing market in the northwest area of North Minneapolis is more established while the southeast area’s is more vulnerable; however, many of the
neighborhoods register a diverse “micro” housing market, with blocks falling on the
entire HMI spectrum"
. During 2006 to 2012 houses in North Minneapolis dropped on average by more than a third. View the report at

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Baseball offers an intriguing strategy to overcome racist behaviors

Baseball offers an intriguing strategy to overcome racist behaviors. A Harvard study found that when umpires and pitchers were of a different race the umpire was more likely to call a pitch a ball -which favors the batter. Pitchers seem to compensate for this discrimination by throwing the ball in areas where there was less of a subjective reading - even though it lessened their effectiveness!

Another intriguing observation of the study was when cameras were present to record the events these discriminatory behaviors vanished. Ah! The lessons we can learn from baseball!
The study can be found at

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nearly 2 million deported in recent years

The Economist  reports that almost 2 million people have been deported in recent years, 322,900 last year alone. The article describes the cruel and heartless way people are deported and the huge human cost of this policy. This in essence has been our immigration policy over the past few years - deportations.

It is time fix our broken and dysfunctional immigration system.

For a new framework to look at immigration see my app "Immigrant Capital" on iTunes and Google Play or a recent report on Minnesota

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

New Health Equity report needs policy attention

The new MDH report on health equity spares no punches and lays out a policy agenda which I hope becomes part of the 2014 election cycle. I do hope the Governor and legislature takes action too. This information is not new - members of the community have been asking for equal access and culturally competent health care for a long time. Thanks to Larry Walker and the Bridges network for bringing this report to our attention.