Date: 29 November 2013
Katrin Ausprung, History and Sociology, Konstanz University, Germany
People’s housing conditions and places of residence have serious impacts on individual living conditions and social stratification. Migrants, in particular, are often bound to the rental markets because they lack the financial resources to buy real estate. This article asks whether access to rental housing objects is restricted by ethnic discrimination. Theoretical considerations suggest several hypotheses governing conditions especially fostering the occurrence of discrimination: (1) In line with the concept of statistical discrimination, the discrimination rate is likely reduced when applicants signal a high occupational status and therefore a high financial standing. (2) Existing work on steering and customer discrimination suggests discrimination rates to be lowest in neighborhoods with a high proportion of migrant residents. (3) Discrimination should be the higher, the stronger the market is characterized by an excess of demand over supply of rental housing. These hypotheses are analyzed using e-mail correspondence tests for pairs of German and Turkish applicants in rental housing markets in several German cities and by combining this evidence with context information on the rental units and ethnic composition of neighborhoods.
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