Insights on Immigration and Development
Working Papers
Working paper # 10

Information and Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market: Evidence from a Field Experiment

By Mariano Bosch, M. Angeles Carnero and Lídia Farré
(June 2009)

This paper investigates the effect of disclosing information on the discriminatory behavior against immigrants in the Spanish rental market. We conduct a field experiment where emails are sent showing interest on vacant rental apartments. Fictitious applicants whose names represent different ethnic groups send emails with different amount of information about their ability to pay the rent. Our results show that applicants with a Moroccan sounding name are 15 percentage points less likely to be contacted by the property owner than those with a Spanish name. We also find that revealing positive information about the socioeconomic status of the Moroccan candidate increases the probability of being contacted by 8 percentage points. However, the information revealed does not completely eliminate discriminatory behavior, suggesting the presence of negative attitudes towards immigrants.

JEL Classification: J15, R23, C93
Keywords: discrimination, Migration, Rental Market, Field Experiment


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