Acts of discrimination: Evidence from the 1989 housing discrimination study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This paper demonstrates the persistence of racial and ethnic discrimination in housing using evidence from the 1989 HUD-sponsored Housing Discrimination Study (HDS). The evidence comes from fair housing audits, a survey technique in which a black person and a white person (or an Hispanic and an Anglo) who are identically qualified for housing, successively visit a sales or rental agent. Discrimination is defined as systematically less favorable treatment of minority auditors. This paper focuses on the number of acts of discrimination in several types of agent behavior, including providing information about available units, offering assistance in finding a mortgage, or offering special rental incentives. On average, black and Hispanic house buyers encounter one act of discrimination each time they inquire about housing. The comparable figures for black and Hispanic apartment seekers are 0.83 acts and 0.53 acts, respectively. Multivariate analysis supports both the hypothesis that agents discriminate because of their own personal prejudice and the hypothesis that they discriminate because of the prejudice of their actual and potential Anglo customers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-346
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Housing Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Acts of discrimination: Evidence from the 1989 housing discrimination study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this