Publication : François Bonnet, Etienne Lalé, Mirna Safi, Etienne Wassmer, « Better residential than ethnic discrimination ! Reconciling audit’s findings and interviews’ findings in the Parisian housing market »

26 octobre 2016

Better residential than ethnic discrimination ! Reconciling audit finding and interview findings in the Parisian housing market

Francois Bonnet (CNRS, UMR Pacte, France)

Etienne Lalé (University of Bristol, UK)

Mirna Safi (Sciences Po, Sociology, France)

Etienne Wasmer (Sciences Po, Economics, France)


Urban Studies, October 2016, Vol. 53 / 16


This article investigates discrimination and the interplay of residential and ethnic stigma on the French housing market using two different methods: paired-testing audit study of real-estate agencies and face-to-face interviews with real-estate agents. Findings lead to a paradox: interviews reveal high levels of ethnic discrimination but little to no residential discrimination, while the audit study shows that living in deprived suburbs is associated with a lower probability of obtaining an appointment for a housing vacancy but ethnic origin (signalled by the candidate’s name) has no significant discriminatory effect. We have three priors potentially consistent with this apparent paradox and re-evaluate their likelihood in light of these findings: (1) agents make use of any statistical information about insolvency, including residency; (2) there are two distinct and independent taste discriminations, one about space and one about ethnicity; (3) these two dimensions exist and complement each other.

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