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Discrimination in the rental market for apartments


  • Carlsson, Magnus
  • Eriksson, Stefan


Discrimination in the housing market may create large economic inefficiencies and unfair individual outcomes, but is very difficult to measure. To circumvent the problems with unobserved heterogeneity, most recent studies use the correspondence testing approach (i.e. sending fictitious inquiries to landlords). In this study, we generalize the existing methodology in order to facilitate a test of to what extent the measured degree of discrimination depends on applicant, landlord/apartment, and regional characteristics. To show how this more general methodology can be implemented, we investigate the effects of gender, ethnicity, age, and employment status in the Swedish rental market for apartments. Our results confirm the existence of widespread discrimination against some of the groups, but also show that the degree of discrimination varies substantially with landlord, apartment, and regional characteristics. This heterogeneity highlights the importance of using a broad approach when conducting correspondence studies. Our results also allow us to interpret the nature of discrimination and how it relates to segregation and geographical sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Magnus & Eriksson, Stefan, 2014. "Discrimination in the rental market for apartments," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 41-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhouse:v:23:y:2014:i:c:p:41-54
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhe.2013.11.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark & Judith Rich, 2016. "Do Field Experiments on Labor and Housing Markets Overstate Discrimination? A Re-examination of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 22278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Finseraas, Henning & Johnsen, Åshild A. & Kotsadam, Andreas & Torsvik, Gaute, 2016. "Exposure to female colleagues breaks the glass ceiling—Evidence from a combined vignette and field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 363-374.
    4. 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.
    5. Henning Finseraas & Åshild A. Johnsen & Andreas Kotsadam & Gaute Torsvik, 2016. "Exposure to Female Colleagues Breaks the Glass Ceiling – A Summary of the Findings from a Lab Experiment in the Field," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(2), pages 37-43, 07.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:14:y:2016:i:2:p:19235738 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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.
    8. Fumarco, Luca, 2015. "Disability Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market – A Field Experiment on Blind Tenants," MPRA Paper 63899, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    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. Carlsson, Magnus & Eriksson, Stefan, 2012. "Do Reported Attitudes towards Immigrants Predict Ethnic Discrimination?," Working Paper Series 2012:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    11. Gustafsson, Björn Anders & Katz, Katarina & Österberg, Torun, 2016. "Residential Segregation from Generation to Generation: Intergenerational Association in Socio-Spatial Context among Visible Minorities and the Majority Population in Metropolitan Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 9837, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. 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).
    13. 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.
    14. Jakobsson, Niklas & Kotsadam, Andreas & Syse, Astri & Øien, Henning, 2016. "Gender bias in public long-term care? A survey experiment among care managers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 126-138.
    15. 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.

    More about this item


    Discrimination; Field experiment; Correspondence testing; Housing market;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R39 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other


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