Religiosity and discrimination against same-sex couples: The case of Portugal's rental market

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We measure and analyze discriminatory behavior against same-sex couples trying to rent an apartment in Portugal and pay special attention to the role of religiosity. This is the first correspondence field experiment investigating discrimination against this minority group in Portugal, and the first one to highlight religion as a factor of importance. In our experiment, four type of applicants varying in gender (male and female) and modality (same and opposite sex) reply to Internet ads to express interest in renting an apartment in the metropolitan areas of Porto and Lisbon. All applicant couples are presented as married, stable and professional. The main finding is that male same-sex couples face significant discrimination: The probability of getting a positive reply is 7–8 percentage points, or 23–26 percent, lower for them compared to opposite-sex couples. Interestingly, this effect is decreasing in the religiosity of a parish, suggesting that the more religious, Catholic and religiously homogenous people residing there are (with certain qualifications), the less discrimination of male same-sex couples there is. Further results reveal that discrimination is stronger when the population is older and when the rent and the square-meter price of apartments are higher. The present study extends the literature to a southern European, Catholic setting, validates previous research documenting worse treatment of same-sex couples in the housing market and demonstrates a mitigating effect of religiosity under certain conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101729
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalJournal of Housing Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economics


  • Same-sex couples
  • Discrimination
  • Portugal
  • Field experiment
  • Lgbt
  • Housing
  • Religion


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