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Ethnic discrimination in the Italian rental housing market

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  • Baldini, Massimo
  • Federici, Marta

Abstract

With a field experiment carried out on the Internet, this paper studies the presence of discrimination in the Italian rental housing market against persons whose names are distinctive of different ethnic groups and gender. Further, we investigate whether providing information on the job or personal characteristics of the applicant may reduce the extent of discrimination. We also study if sending ill-formed emails negatively affects immigrants' chances of success in receiving a positive response. We created twelve fictitious individuals: four with Italian-sounding names, four with typical Arab/Muslim names and four with East European-sounding names. We made these individuals send emails to apply for vacant rental apartments in 41 Italian cities. The results provide a multifaceted picture. The degree of discrimination varies across ethnic groups, genders and the level of information, but seems to be present only in part of the country, and is also closely correlated with the size of the flat. Perfect mastery of the receiving-country's language does not play an important role.

Suggested Citation

  • Baldini, Massimo & Federici, Marta, 2011. "Ethnic discrimination in the Italian rental housing market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-14, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhouse:v:20:y:2011:i:1:p:1-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson & Mats Hammarstedt, 2010. "Can Discrimination in the Housing Market Be Reduced by Increasing the Information about the Applicants?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-90.
    2. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    3. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
    4. Yinger, John, 1986. "Measuring Racial Discrimination with Fair Housing Audits: Caught in the Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 881-893, December.
    5. Bosch, Mariano & Carnero, M. Angeles & Farré, Lídia, 2010. "Information and discrimination in the rental housing market: Evidence from a field experiment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 11-19, January.
    6. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    7. Ahmed, Ali M. & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Discrimination in the rental housing market: A field experiment on the Internet," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 362-372, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Acolin, Arthur & Bostic, Raphael & Painter, Gary, 2016. "A field study of rental market discrimination across origins in France," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 49-63.
    2. Sansani, Shahar, 2017. "Are the Religiously Observant Discriminated Against in the Rental Housing Market? Experimental Evidence from Israel," MPRA Paper 81424, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Auspurg, Katrin & Hinz, Thomas & Schmid, Laura, 2017. "Contexts and conditions of ethnic discrimination: Evidence from a field experiment in a German housing market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 26-36.
    4. Mariano Bosch & M. Carnero & Lídia Farré, 2015. "Rental housing discrimination and the persistence of ethnic enclaves," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 129-152, June.
    5. Julie Le Gallo & Yannick L'Horty & Loïc du Parquet & Pascale Petit, 2017. "Les discriminations dans l’accès au logement en France : Un testing de couverture nationale," TEPP Research Report 2017-11, TEPP.
    6. Bischoff, Oliver, 2012. "Explaining regional variation in equilibrium real estate prices and income," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-15.
    7. Fumarco, Luca, 2015. "Disability Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market – A Field Experiment on Blind Tenants," MPRA Paper 63899, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Ingrid Gould Ellen & Stephen L. Ross, 2018. "Race and the City," Working papers 2018-03, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    9. Mathieu Bunel & Yannick L'Horty & Loïc du Parquet & Pascale Petit, 2017. "Les discriminations dans l’accès au logement à Paris : Une expérience contrôlée," TEPP Research Report 2017-01, TEPP.
    10. Antoine Bonleu, 2014. "Procedural Formalism and Social Networks in the Housing Market," Working Papers halshs-01178230, HAL.
    11. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pelizzari, 2010. "Moving to Segregation: Evidence from 8 Italian cities," EIEF Working Papers Series 1109, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2011.
    12. Carlsson, Magnus & Eriksson, Stefan, 2014. "Discrimination in the rental market for apartments," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 41-54.
    13. Carlsson, Magnus & Fumarco, Luca & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2013. "Artifactual evidence of discrimination in correspondence studies? A replication of the Neumark method," POLIS Working Papers 172, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    14. Rich, Judy, 2014. "What Do Field Experiments of Discrimination in Markets Tell Us? A Meta Analysis of Studies Conducted since 2000," IZA Discussion Papers 8584, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Mathieu Bunel & Samuel Gorohouna & Yannick L'Horty & Pascale Petit & Catherine Ris, 2016. "Discriminations Ethniques Dans L’Acces Au Logement: Une Experimentation En Nouvelle-Caledonie," Working Papers halshs-01374442, HAL.
    16. Ingrid Gould Ellen & Stephen L. Ross, 2018. "Race and the City," Working Papers 2018-022, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    17. Luca Fumarco, 2017. "Disability Discrimination in the Italian Rental Housing Market: A Field Experiment with Blind Tenants," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 93(4), pages 567-584.

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