Airbnb has described itself to politicians of all persuasions as a solution to the problem of growing middle-class inequality, as it attempts to persuade local governments around the world that opportunities presented by the sharing economy are mitigating the 2008 financial crisis.

It describes its platform as generating supplemental income for middle-class homeowners renting out rooms in their primary residence “on an amateur basis” for supplemental income, claiming the typical senior host earns around US$8,350 from Airbnb each year.

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