Arab American Housing Discrimination, Ethnic Competition, and the Contact Hypothesis

S. Michael Gaddis, Raj Ghoshal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This study uses a field experiment to study bias against living with Arab American women, a group whose position in the U.S. race system remains uncertain. We developed fictitious female white and Arab American identities and used the audit method to respond to 560 roommate-wanted advertisements in four metro areas: Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, and Houston. To focus on social—rather than purely economic—biases, all responses identified the sender as college-educated and employed and were written in grammatically correct English. We compare the number of replies received, finding that Arab-origin names receive about 40 percent fewer replies. We then model variation in discrimination rates by proximity to mosques, geographic concentration of mosques, and the percentage of Arabs living in a census tract so as to test ethnic competition theory and the contact hypothesis. In Los Angeles and New York, greater discrimination occurred in neighborhoods with the highest concentration of mosques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-299
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 12 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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