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Not for you! The cost of having a foreign-sounding name in the Swedish private housing market

Working paper
Authors Hemrin Molla
Caroline Rhawi
Elina Lampi
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economics
Language en
Links hdl.handle.net/2077/62028
Keywords discrimination, housing market, field experiment, correspondent test
Subject categories Economics

Abstract

Both immigration and a troubling housing deficit have increased rapidly in Sweden over the past 20 years. Today, up to 33 percent of the people living in the largest Swedish cities are immigrants. In this Internet-based field experiment, we investigated whether there exists discrimination in the Swedish private rental housing market based on the names of apartment seekers. We used a correspondent test by randomly sending out equivalent applications from four fictitious, highly educated, and seemingly “well-behaved” male applicants in response to a number of randomly selected private housing ads. Each advertiser received applications from two applicants with names signalling Swedish, Arab/Muslim, Eastern European, or East Asian ethnicity. Our results clearly confirm previous findings that persons with a name traditionally associated with the majority group in the respective community receive more call backs than others. When comparing our results with previous discrimination research focusing on Swedish housing market, we find that a man with an Arab/Muslim-sounding name needs to apply for clearly more rental objects in order to get a call back compared with just 10 years ago. Our results strongly indicate that the name of a person matters a great deal when applying for a rental object.

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