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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahmed, Ali & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2007. "Discrimination in the housing market — a field experiment on the internet," CAFO Working Papers 2007:1, Linnaeus University, Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:vxcafo:2007_001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    3. 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.
    4. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Verena Dill & Uwe Jirjahn & Georgi Tsertsvadze, 2015. "Residential Segregation and Immigrants’ Satisfaction with the Neighborhood in Germany," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(2), pages 354-368, June.
    2. Verena Dill & Uwe Jirjahn, 2011. "Ethnic Residential Segregation and Immigrants' Perceptions of Discrimination in West Germany," Research Papers in Economics 2011-10, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    3. Michael Ewens & Bryan Tomlin & Liang Choon Wang, 2014. "Statistical Discrimination or Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 119-134, March.
    4. Ahmed, Ali M. & Andersson, Lina & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Are lesbians discriminated against in the rental housing market? Evidence from a correspondence testing experiment," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 234-238, September.

    More about this item


    Discrimination; Field experiments; Housing market; Internet;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand


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