Statistical Discrimination or Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Experiment
48 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2011 Last revised: 5 Jun 2013
Date Written: April 16, 2012
A model of racial discrimination provides testable implications for two features of statistical discriminators: differential treatment of signals by race and heterogeneous experience that shapes perception. We construct an experiment in the U.S. rental apartment market that distinguishes statistical discrimination from taste-based discrimination. Responses from over 14,000 rental inquiries with varying applicant quality show that landlords treat identical information from applicants with African-American and white sounding names differently. This differential treatment varies by neighborhood racial composition and signal type in a manner consistent with statistical discrimination and in contrast to patterns predicted by a model of taste-based discrimination.
Keywords: discrimination, field experiment, statistical discrimination, housing markets
JEL Classification: J15, J70, J71, R3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation