Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Alison Harris

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Ian Zane Habbestad


Recent economic analyses suggest that valuations of homes in majority-Black communities are significantly lower than those of White-owned homes in the United States. While some of these differences result from the long-term impacts of explicitly discriminatory historical practices such as “redlining,” racial disparities in home value persist even after controlling for the physical characteristics of housing stock and neighborhood amenities. One factor that may play a role in this valuation gap is implicit bias, beliefs that can unconsciously or unintentionally influence the perception and judgment of people, objects, and events. Research in social psychology suggests that implicit racial biases can affect economic decision-making: for example, individuals higher in pro-White implicit bias are less likely to share money with Black recipients, regardless of explicit racial attitudes. Here we review the history of housing discrimination and its economic consequences, and provide an overview of the existing psychological literature on implicit racial bias. With respect to housing valuation, we identify how subjective aspects of the appraisal process, particularly in the selection of comparable sales data, are susceptible to implicit bias. Because implicit biases are difficult to detect and modify through conscious introspection, current efforts to combat racial bias in home appraisal through explicit training may have limited success. Applying insights from the empirical data, we highlight other possible interventions, including greater reliance on automated algorithms to identify comparable sales and increased diversification of the appraiser workforce.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.