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Do landlords discriminate in the rental housing market? Evidence from an internet field experiment in US cities

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  • Hanson, Andrew
  • Hawley, Zackary

Abstract

This paper tests for racial discrimination in the rental housing market using matched-pair audits conducted via e-mail for rental units advertised on-line. We reveal home-seekers’ race to landlords by sending e-mails from names with a high likelihood of association with either whites or African Americans. Generally, discrimination occurs against African American names; however, when the content of the e-mail messages insinuates home-seekers with high social class, discrimination is non-existent. Racial discrimination is more severe in neighborhoods that are near “tipping points” in racial composition, and for units that are part of a larger building.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanson, Andrew & Hawley, Zackary, 2011. "Do landlords discriminate in the rental housing market? Evidence from an internet field experiment in US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 99-114.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:70:y:2011:i:2:p:99-114
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2011.02.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Racial discrimination; Rental housing; Field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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