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Price Discrimination in the Housing Market


  • Patrick Bayer
  • Marcus D. Casey
  • Fernando Ferreira
  • Robert McMillan


This paper sets out a new research design to test for price discrimination by sellers in the housing market. The design controls carefully for unobserved differences in the quality of neighborhoods and homes purchased by buyers of each race, using novel panel data from over two million repeat-sales housing transactions in four metropolitan areas. The results indicate that black and Hispanic homebuyers pay premiums of around 3 percent on average across the four cities – differences that are not explained by variation in buyer income, wealth or access to credit. The estimated premiums do not vary significantly with the racial composition of the neighborhood or, most strikingly, the race of the seller. This latter result rules out racial prejudice or animosity on the part of sellers as the primary explanation for the estimated premiums.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Bayer & Marcus D. Casey & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2012. "Price Discrimination in the Housing Market," Working Papers 12-10, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:12-10

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    Cited by:

    1. Huailu Li & Kevin Lang & Kaiwen Leong, "undated". "Does Competition Eliminate Discrimination? Evidence from the Commercial Sex Market in Singapore," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-275, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2015. "Panel Data Hedonics: Rosen's First Stage and Difference-in-Differences as "Sufficient Statistics"," NBER Working Papers 21485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Steven Berry & Alon Eizenberg & Joel Waldfogel, 2016. "Fixed Costs and the Product Market Treatment of Preference Minorities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 466-493, September.

    More about this item


    Price Discrimination; Housing Market; Home Sales; Discrimination; Racial Differences; Racial Animosity; Prejudice;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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