IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Discrimination Against Gay and Transgender People in Latin America: A Correspondence Study in the Rental Housing Market


  • Nicolás Abbate


  • Inés Berniell


  • Joaquín Coleff


  • Luis Laguinge


  • Margarita Machelett

    (Banco de España)

  • Mariana Marchionni


  • Julián Pedrazzi


  • María Florencia Pinto



We assess the extent of discrimination against gay and transgender individuals in the rental housing markets of four Latin American countries. We conducted a large-scale field experiment building on the correspondence study methodology to examine interactions between property managers and fictitious couples engaged in searches in a major online rental housing platform. We find evidence of discriminatory behavior against heterosexual couples where the female partner is a transgender women (trans couples): they receive 19% fewer responses, 27% fewer positive responses, and 23% fewer invitations to showings than heterosexual couples. However, we find no evidence of discrimination against gay male couples. We also assess whether the evidence is consistent with taste-based discrimination or statistical discrimination models by comparing response rates when couples signal a high socioeconomic status (high SES). While we find no significant effect of the signal on call-back rates or the type of response for high-SES heterosexual or gay male couples, trans couples benefit when they signal a high SES. Their call-back, positive-response, and invitation rates increase by 25%, 36% and 29%, respectively. These results suggest the presence of discrimination against trans couples in the Latin American online rental housing market, which seems consistent with statistical discrimination. Moreover, we find no evidence of heterosexual couples being favoured over gay male couples, nor evidence of statistical discrimination for gay male or heterosexual couples.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolás Abbate & Inés Berniell & Joaquín Coleff & Luis Laguinge & Margarita Machelett & Mariana Marchionni & Julián Pedrazzi & María Florencia Pinto, 2022. "Discrimination Against Gay and Transgender People in Latin America: A Correspondence Study in the Rental Housing Market," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0306, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  • Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0306

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric Chyn, 2018. "Moved to Opportunity: The Long-Run Effects of Public Housing Demolition on Children," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(10), pages 3028-3056, October.
    2. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren, 2018. "The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility II: County-Level Estimates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(3), pages 1163-1228.
    3. Rishi Ahuja & Ronan C Lyons, 2019. "The silent treatment: discrimination against same-sex relations in the sharing economy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 564-576.
    4. Hanson, Andrew & Hawley, Zackary, 2011. "Do landlords discriminate in the rental housing market? Evidence from an internet field experiment in US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 99-114, September.
    5. David Neumark & Judith Rich, 2019. "Do Field Experiments on Labor and Housing Markets Overstate Discrimination? A Re-examination of the Evidence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 72(1), pages 223-252, January.
    6. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren, 2018. "The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I: Childhood Exposure Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(3), pages 1107-1162.
    7. Riach, Peter A & Rich, Judith, 1991. "Testing for Racial Discrimination in the Labour Market," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 239-256, September.
    8. Ahmed, Ali M. & Andersson, Lina & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Are lesbians discriminated against in the rental housing market? Evidence from a correspondence testing experiment," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 234-238, September.
    9. Granberg, Mark & Andersson, Per A. & Ahmed, Ali, 2020. "Hiring Discrimination Against Transgender People: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    10. Ali M. Ahmed & Mats Hammarstedt, 2009. "Detecting Discrimination against Homosexuals: Evidence from a Field Experiment on the Internet," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(303), pages 588-597, July.
    11. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Lawrence F. Katz, 2016. "The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 855-902, April.
    12. Gouveia, Filipe & Nilsson, Therese & Berggren, Niclas, 2020. "Religiosity and discrimination against same-sex couples: The case of Portugal's rental market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C).
    13. Ahmed, Ali M. & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Discrimination in the rental housing market: A field experiment on the Internet," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 362-372, September.
    14. Carpenter, Christopher S. & Lee, Maxine J. & Nettuno, Laura, 2022. "Economic Outcomes for Transgender People and Other Gender Minorities in the United States: First Estimates from a Nationally Representative Sample," IZA Discussion Papers 15116, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Christopher S. Carpenter & Maxine J. Lee & Laura Nettuno, 2022. "Economic outcomes for transgender people and other gender minorities in the United States: First estimates from a nationally representative sample," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 89(2), pages 280-304, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Gaddis, S. Michael, 2018. "An Introduction to Audit Studies in the Social Sciences," SocArXiv e5hfc, Center for Open Science.
    2. Gouveia, Filipe & Nilsson, Therese & Berggren, Niclas, 2020. "Religiosity and discrimination against same-sex couples: The case of Portugal's rental market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C).
    3. Francesco Agostinelli & Matthias Doepke & Giuseppe Sorrenti & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2020. "It Takes a Village: The Economics of Parenting with Neighborhood and Peer Effects," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2228, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Chong Lu, 2022. "The effect of migration on rural residents’ intergenerational subjective social status mobility in China," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 56(5), pages 3279-3308, October.
    5. John A. List & Fatemeh Momeni & Yves Zenou, 2020. "The Social Side of Early Human Capital Formation: Using a Field Experiment to Estimate the Causal Impact of Neighborhoods," Working Papers 2020-187, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    6. Suzane Bellue, 2023. "Why Don’t Poor Families Move? A Spatial Equilibirum Analysis of Parental Decisions with Social Learning," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2023_472, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    7. Lara Cockx, 2022. "Moving toward a Better Future? Migration and Children’s Health and Education," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(3), pages 1229-1293.
    8. Aarland, Kristin & Santiago, Anna Maria & Galster, George C. & Nordvik, Viggo, 2021. "Childhood Housing Tenure and Young Adult Educational Outcomes: Evidence from Sibling Comparisons in Norway," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    9. Richard Disney & John Gathergood & Stephen Machin & Matteo Sandi, 2020. "Does homeownership reduce crime? A radical housing reform in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp1685, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Cavit Baran & Eric Chyn & Bryan A. Stuart, 2022. "The Great Migration and Educational Opportunity," Upjohn Working Papers 22-367, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    11. Kiessling, Lukas, 2021. "How do parents perceive the returns to parenting styles and neighborhoods?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).
    12. Luca Fumarco & Benjamin Harrell & Patrick Button & David Schwegman & E Dils, 2020. "Gender Identity, Race, and Ethnicity-based Discrimination in Access to Mental Health Care: Evidence from an Audit Correspondence Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 28164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Michael Bailey & Drew Johnston & Martin Koenen & Theresa Kuchler & Dominic Russel & Johannes Stroebel, 2022. "The Social Integration of International Migrants: Evidence from the Networks of Syrians in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 9680, CESifo.
    14. Disney, Richard & Gathergood, John & Machin, Stephen & Sandi, Matteo, 2020. "Does homeownership reduce crime? A radical housing reform from the UK," CFS Working Paper Series 651, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    15. Muñoz, Ercio, 2021. "Does it Matter Where You Grow up? Childhood Exposure Effects in Latin America and the Caribbean," Research Department working papers 1843, CAF Development Bank Of Latinamerica.
    16. Luca Fumarco, 2017. "Disability Discrimination in the Italian Rental Housing Market: A Field Experiment with Blind Tenants," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 93(4), pages 567-584.
    17. 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.
    18. Jia, Ning & Molloy, Raven & Smith, Christopher L. & Wozniak, Abigail, 2022. "The Economics of Internal Migration: Advances and Policy Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 15047, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. David J. Harding & Lisa Sanbonmatsu & Greg J. Duncan & Lisa A. Gennetian & Lawrence F. Katz & Ronald C. Kessler & Jeffrey R. Kling & Matthew Sciandra & Jens Ludwig, 2023. "Evaluating Contradictory Experimental and Nonexperimental Estimates of Neighborhood Effects on Economic Outcomes for Adults," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 453-486, March.
    20. Tushar Bharati & Thea Harpley Green, 2021. "Age at school transition and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 21-06, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0306. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Ana Pacheco (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.