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Discrimination in the housing market — a field experiment on the internet

This paper studies ethnic and gender discrimination in the housing market in Sweden with the help of a field experiment on the internet. By letting three testers, one with a typical male Swedish name, one with a typical female Swedish name, and one with a typical male Arabic/Muslim name apply for vacant rental apartments advertised by landlords on the internet, we explore the incidence of discrimination in the choice by landlords to invite applicants to further contacts and/or to a showing of the apartment. Our findings are straightforward. The results suggest that the Arabic/Muslim male got far fewer call backs, inquires and showings for each application that our three applicants send out. Our observations also indicate that women meet with less difficulties in finding an apartment than men. Thus, ethnic as well as gender discrimination occurs in the housing market.

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Paper provided by Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University in its series CAFO Working Papers with number 2007:1.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 02 May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:vxcafo:2007_001
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University, SE 351 95 Växjö, Sweden
Phone: +46 470 70 87 64
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  1. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  2. Jan Ondrich & Stephen Ross & John Yinger, 2000. "Now You See It, Now You Don't: Why Do Real Estate Agents Withhold Available Houses from Black Customers?," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 24, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  3. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
  4. Canopy Roychoudhury & Allen C. Goodman, 1996. "Evidence of Racial Discrimination in Different Dimensions of Owner-Occupied Housing Search," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 24(2), pages 161-178.
  5. Ondrich, Jan & Stricker, Alex & Yinger, John, 1999. "Do Landlords Discriminate? The Incidence and Causes of Racial Discrimination in Rental Housing Markets," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 185-204, September.
  6. 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.
  7. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
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