July 2022

IZA DP No. 15460: Testing for Discrimination in Rental Markets: Experimental Evidence from the UK

Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner, Tania Oliveira, Nikitha Rohith

In this paper we provide novel insights on discrimination against immigrants in the UK rental market. We conducted a randomized-controlled trial close to a real-world setting where inquiries to view a property were made via phone inquiries with rental agencies and immigration background was signalled through non-UK accents. We document substantial discrimination against non-UK applicants with non-UK applicants having a 13 percent lower chance of securing a viewing for a rental. We also document substantial heterogeneous effects, with much more pronounced effects in local areas with a lower share of immigrants. We find that the background of agency managers or the composition of agency staff does not attenuate the effects.