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Housing market discrimination following the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, there were frequent reports of discrimination against ethnic Asians across the world. Discrimination within countries often targeted individuals from the epicenters of the outbreak. We focus on the impacts of discrimination on matching in the real estate market, adding to the growing experimental literature on this topic. Emails are being sent to landlords following advertisements for apartments in different parts of China. In a 3 x 2 full factorial design, we manipulate the content of these messages. The message either presents the tenant as being from Wuhan (most affected by the outbreak), Changsha (similar to Wuhan, but not as severely affected), or from another (unnamed) city. In addition, the message either contains or does not contain a short message about being affected by the virus. We study three outcomes: (1) whether or not there is a response, (2) conditional on a response, whether or not there is an invitation to see the apartment, (3) response time. We expect discrimination against prospective tenants from Wuhan in all outcomes. We expect less discrimination for treatments that explicitly state that the prospective tenant has not been affected.

Lead investigator:

Ziming Liu


East China University of Science and Technology

Primary topic:

Attitudes, media & governance

Region of data collection:

Asia and Oceania

Country of data collection


Status of data collection


Type of data being collected:


Unit of real-time data collection


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