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Discrimination against same-sex couples in the rental housing market, a meta-analysis


  • Alexandre Flage

    (Université de Lorraine, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, BETA)


This article presents the findings of the first meta-analysis on sexual orientation discrimination in the rental housing market. Data are collected from 11 separate testing studies conducted in 8 OECD/European countries between 2008 and 2020 and represent a total of more than 36,000 requests made to landlords. Overall, the article shows the presence of relatively weak but significant discrimination against homosexual couples in the rental housing market. However, this result need to be nuanced because there are large differences due to the gender of the homosexual couple: gay males are significantly discriminated against while lesbians are not. Finally, discrimination against homosexual applicants seem not statistical but mainly preference-based. These results are robust to the estimation methods used (random effects and unrestricted weighted least squares methods).

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Flage, 2021. "Discrimination against same-sex couples in the rental housing market, a meta-analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 42(2), pages 643-653.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-20-01170

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zschirnt, Eva & Ruedin, Didier, 2016. "Ethnic discrimination in hiring decisions: A meta-analysis of correspondence tests 1990–2015," EconStor Preprints 142176, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    2. Alexandre Flage, 2019. "Discrimination against gays and lesbians in hiring decisions: a meta-analysis," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 41(6), pages 671-691, September.
    3. Kristof Heylen & Katleen Van den Broeck, 2016. "Discrimination and selection in the Belgian private rental market," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 223-236, March.
    4. Marieka Klawitter, 2011. "Multilevel analysis of the effects of antidiscrimination policies on earnings by sexual orientation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(2), pages 334-358, March.
    5. Sue Duval & Richard Tweedie, 2000. "Trim and Fill: A Simple Funnel-Plot–Based Method of Testing and Adjusting for Publication Bias in Meta-Analysis," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 455-463, June.
    6. Murchie, Judson & Pang, Jindong, 2018. "Rental housing discrimination across protected classes: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 170-179.
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    More about this item


    Meta-analysis; discrimination; sexual orientation; rental housing market; testing; correspondence test;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments


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