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Do Landlords Discriminate in the Rental Housing Market? Evidence from an Internet Field Experiment in U.S. Cities

  • Andrew Hanson
  • Zackary Hawley

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.

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File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2011-05.pdf
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Paper provided by Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series with number 2011-05.

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Length: 57
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2011-05
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Web page: http://excen.gsu.edu/

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  1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
  2. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2007. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," NBER Working Papers 13052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Deborah A. Cobb Clark & Heather Antecol, 2006. "Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Local Consumer Markets: Exploiting the Army’s Procedures for Matching Personnel to Duty Locations," CEPR Discussion Papers 544, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson & Mats Hammarstedt, 2010. "Can Discrimination in the Housing Market Be Reduced by Increasing the Information about the Applicants?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(1), pages 79-90.
  5. M. Angeles Carnero Fernández & Lídia Farré Olalla & Mariano Bosch, 2009. "Information and discrimination in the rental housing market: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2009-21, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  6. Ondrich, Jan & Ross, Stephen L. & Yinger, John, 2000. "How Common is Housing Discrimination? Improving on Traditional Measures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 470-500, May.
  7. Bo Zhao & Jan Ondrich & John Yinger, 2005. "Why Do Real Estate Brokers Continue to Discriminate? Evidence from the 2000 Housing Discrimination Study," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 67, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  8. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
  9. 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.
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are emily and greg more employable than lakisha and jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination," Natural Field Experiments 00216, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. John Yinger, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Consumer Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 23-40, Spring.
  12. Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, . "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  13. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  14. 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.
  15. Zhao, Bo, 2005. "Does the number of houses a broker shows depend on a homeseeker's race?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 128-147, January.
  16. 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.
  17. Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2004. "Discrimination and neighborhood effects: understanding racial differentials in US housing prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 279-302, September.
  18. Bradburd, Ralph & Sheppard, Stephen & Bergeron, Joseph & Engler, Eric & Gee, Evan, 2005. "The distributional impact of housing discrimination in a non-Walrasian setting," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 61-91, June.
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