By Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council
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Extra resources for Measuring Housing Discrimination in a National Study: Report of a Workshop (2002)
The problem with the net measure of discrimination against non-whites is that it will overstate discrimination to the extent that the values of the uncontrolled auditor characteristics εit are systematically related to race. The design and analysis of the audit studies should account for the differences among the auditors and housing providers that are reflected in εit, zit, and vit in the above model. Altonji offered four comments on how the Urban Institute could address heterogeneity in the study.
The audit methodology results in identical agents observing auditors with similar characteristics. Including the covariates in the model would allow the researchers to observe how the estimated marginal probabilities in Table 5-2 respond to this methodology. Another question raised during the workshop was whether the discussion of power for the statistical tests and the need to control for covariates is necessary in the absence of a clearly defined population. An appropriate model may be one that accounts for the measurement of outcomes that represent a mix of different measured phenomena.
Bobo noted that the study did not lead to recommendations on how to sample housing units or assign auditors, but that its results have implications for the interpretation of results of the HDS, particularly with regard to rates of housing discrimination. Bobo’s data indicate clearly that in the general housing market, some communities are more likely to accept or reject particular racial groups. These attitudes are held by both majority and minority residents and can have implications for the way applicants of a given race are treated in a housing market transaction.