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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. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jan Ondrich & Stephen Ross & John Yinger, 2003. "Now You See It, Now You Don't: Why Do Real Estate Agents Withhold Available Houses from Black Customers?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 854-873, November.
  3. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Racial and ethnic discrimination in local consumer markets: Exploiting the army's procedures for matching personnel to duty locations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 496-509, September.
  6. 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.
  7. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  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. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  12. David Card & Alexandre Mas & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 177-218, 02.
  13. Zhao, Bo & Ondrich, Jan & Yinger, John, 2006. "Why do real estate brokers continue to discriminate? Evidence from the 2000 Housing Discrimination Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 394-419, May.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. John Yinger, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Consumer Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 23-40, Spring.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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