IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/max/cprwps/24.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Now You See It, Now You Don't: Why Do Real Estate Agents Withhold Available Houses from Black Customers?

Author

Abstract

This paper develops a new approach to testing hypotheses about the causes of discrimination in housing sales. We follow previous research by using data from fair housing audits, a matched-pair technique for comparing the traetment of equally qualified black and white home buyers. Our contribution is to shift the focus from differences in the treatment of teammates during an audit to agent decisions concerning an individual housing unit. Our sample consists of all units seen by either a black of a white auditor in the 1989 national Housing Discrimination Study. We estimate a multinomial logit model to explain a real estate agent's joint decisions concerning whether to show each unit to a white auditor and to a black auditor. We find evidence that real estate agents make and act upon inferences about a customer's preferences on the basis of the customer's initial inequity and that agents practice redlining, defined as the withholding of units in integrated neighborhoods. We find little evidence to support the conclusion that agents discriminate because of their own prejudice, but some evidence that they discriminate because of the prejudice of their white customes. More importantly, we find strong evidence of statistical discrimination; agents withhold houses from blacks when the probability of a successful transaction is perceived to be low.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:24
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    2. George Galster, 1990. "Racial steering in urban housing markets: A review of the audit evidence," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 105-129, December.
    3. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, April.
    4. Turner, Margery Austin & Mikelsons, Maris, 1992. "Patterns of racial steering in four metropolitan areas," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 199-234, September.
    5. Kenneth Arrow, 1971. "The Theory of Discrimination," Working Papers 403, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Yinger, John, 1997. "Cash in Your Face: The Cost of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 339-365, November.
    7. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
    8. Courant, Paul N., 1978. "Racial prejudice in a search model of the urban housing market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 329-345, July.
    9. George Galster, 1990. "Racial steering by real estate agents: Mechanisms and motives," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 39-63, June.
    10. 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.
    11. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Roychoudhury, Canopy & Goodman, Allen C., 1992. "An ordered probit model for estimating racial discrimination through fair housing audits," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 358-373, December.
    15. Harriet Newburger, 1995. "Sources of Difference in Information Used by Black and White Housing Seekers: An Exploratory Analysis," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 32(3), pages 445-470, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:24. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Margaret Austin) or (Candi Patterson) or (Katrina Wingle). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cpsyrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.