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Can Discrimination in the Housing Market Be Reduced by Increasing the Information about the Applicants?

  • Ali M. Ahmed
  • Lina Andersson
  • Mats Hammarstedt

We investigate how increasing the information about applicants affects discrimination in the rental housing market. We let four fictitious applicants, two with typical Arab/Muslim names and two with typical Swedish names, use application letters containing different amounts of information to apply for apartments over the Internet in Sweden. The Arab/Muslim applicants received fewer responses from the landlords than did the Swedish applicants. All of the applicants gained by providing more information about themselves, but the amount of discrimination against the Arab/Muslim applicants remained unchanged, indicating that increasing the amount of information about the applicants will not reduce discrimination.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 86 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 79-90

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:86:y:2010:i:1:p:79-90
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  1. Stephen L. Ross & Margery Austin Turner & Erin Godfrey & Robin R. Smith, 2005. "Mortgage Lending in Chicago and Los Angeles: A Paired Testing Study of the Pre-Application Process," Working papers 2005-03, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
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  3. Jan Ondrich & Stephen Ross & John Yinger, 2001. "Now You See it, Now You Don't: Why Do Real Estate Agents Withhold Available Houses from Black Customers?," Working papers 2001-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2002.
  4. Mats Hammarstedt & Ghazi Shukur, 2006. "Immigrants' Relative Earnings in Sweden - A Cohort Analysis," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(2), pages 285-323, 06.
  5. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  6. Margery A. Turner & Stephen L. Ross, 2003. "Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets Phase II: Asians and Pacific Islanders," Working papers 2003-18, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  7. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  8. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner & Cordelia Reimers, 2007. "Labor Market Effects of September 11th on Arab and Muslim Residents of the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  9. George Galster, 1990. "Racial steering by real estate agents: Mechanisms and motives," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 39-63, June.
  10. Roychoudhury, Canopy & Goodman, Allen C., 1992. "An ordered probit model for estimating racial discrimination through fair housing audits," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 358-373, December.
  11. Margery A. Turner & Stephen Ross & George C. Galster & John Yinger, 2002. "Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets: National Results from Phase 1 of the Housing Discrimination Study (HDS)," Working papers 2002-16, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  12. Page Marianne, 1995. "Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Urban Housing Markets: Evidence from a Recent Audit Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-206, September.
  13. 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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