Neighbor discrimination theory and evidence from the French rental market

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Abstract

This paper describes a novel concept of customer discrimination in the housing market, neighbor discrimination. We develop a matching model with ethnic externalities in which landlords differ in the number of apartments they own within the same building. Larger landlords are more likely to discriminate only if some tenants are prejudiced against the minority group. Observing that minority tenants are less likely than majority group tenants to live in a building with a single large landlord is thus evidence of neighbor discrimination. We show empirically that African immigrants in France are significantly less likely to live in a building owned by a single landlord. This increases the probability that African immigrants live in public housing in localities with more single-landlord private apartment blocks.

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Combes, P. P., Decreuse, B., Schmutz, B., & Trannoy, A. (2018). Neighbor discrimination theory and evidence from the French rental market. Journal of Urban Economics, 104, 104–123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jue.2018.01.002

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