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Better residential than ethnic discrimination! Reconciling audit and interview findings in the Parisian housing market


  • Francois Bonnet

    (CNRS, UMR Pacte, France)

  • Etienne Lalé

    (University of Bristol, UK)

  • Mirna Safi

    (Sciences Po, Sociology, France)

  • Etienne Wasmer

    (Sciences Po, Economics, France)


This article investigates discrimination and the interplay of residential and ethnic stigma on the French housing market using two different methods: paired-testing audit study of real-estate agencies and face-to-face interviews with real-estate agents. Findings lead to a paradox: interviews reveal high levels of ethnic discrimination but little to no residential discrimination, while the audit study shows that living in deprived suburbs is associated with a lower probability of obtaining an appointment for a housing vacancy but ethnic origin (signalled by the candidate’s name) has no significant discriminatory effect. We have three priors potentially consistent with this apparent paradox and re-evaluate their likelihood in light of these findings: (1) agents make use of any statistical information about insolvency, including residency; (2) there are two distinct and independent taste discriminations, one about space and one about ethnicity; (3) these two dimensions exist and complement each other.

Suggested Citation

  • Francois Bonnet & Etienne Lalé & Mirna Safi & Etienne Wasmer, 2016. "Better residential than ethnic discrimination! Reconciling audit and interview findings in the Parisian housing market," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 53(13), pages 2815-2833, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:53:y:2016:i:13:p:2815-2833

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    audit; discrimination; housing; interviews; Paris; sociology;


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