Tuesday, August 04, 2009

More Pretend Application Studies

Doing a session on the merits of the false application research methodology would be worthwhile. kevin has voiced strong opposition to it on a number of occasions. I suppose any time that a study uses deception and imposes a non-trivial cost on others, there needs to be discussion of whether the benefits of the study outweigh the costs. Some of the seminal uses of deception in psychology such as the "being sane in insane places" study arguably changed the way the world thinks about mental illness. We may be reaching a point though where the volume of such studies raises questions about the costs. On the other hand, the authors have relatively convincingly showed that homosexual males are discriminated against when applying for housing. Perhaps this is worth the cost of some wasted time processing fake applications?

Detecting Discrimination against Homosexuals: Evidence from a Field Experiment on the Internet
Ali M. Ahmed & Mats Hammarstedt
Economica, 2009
This paper presents the first field experiment studying discrimination against homosexuals on the housing market. The study is conducted on the rental housing market in Sweden using the internet as a research platform. Two fictitious couples, one heterosexual and one male homosexual, apply for vacant rental apartments advertised by landlords on the internet. Our findings show that homosexual males are discriminated against on the Swedish housing market, since the homosexual couple gets far fewer call-backs and fewer invitations to further contacts and to showings of apartments than the heterosexual couple. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2008.

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