Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 229–254 | Cite as

Same-sex marriage laws and demand for mortgage credit

  • Joshua J. Miller
  • Kevin A. Park


Marriage for same-sex couples was only permitted in a limited number of states prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. We exploit panel variation across states prior to the Supreme Court decision to investigate the effect of marriage laws on demand for mortgage credit. Identification relies on the fact that states permitted same-sex marriage at different points in time, often through court order whereby the outcome and timing of ruling was unknown. We estimate that states permitting same-sex marriage experienced a 6–16% increase in same-sex mortgage applications after the policy was implemented. Federal recognition of marriage is associated with a stronger effect than state same-sex marriage prior to the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, but the effect of state-recognized marriage is also stronger than anti-discrimination policies in housing. Our findings provide important insight not only to the housing choices of same-sex households but the impact of marriage on all households.


Same-sex marriage Mortgages Household formation HMDA 

JEL Classification

J12 R21 R28 



The opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Administration. The authors thank Richard K. Green, Silda Nikaj, and William Reeder for invaluable comments and suggestions. Any omissions and errors belong solely to the authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


  1. Adams, S., & Cotti, C. (2008). Drunk driving after the passage of smoking bans in bars. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5–6), 1288–1305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agarwal, S., Green, R., Rosenblatt, E., Yao, V., & Zhang, J. (2016). Intra-household economic power and gender difference in mortgage signing order. September 26, 2016. Available at SSRN 2616756.Google Scholar
  3. Alm, J., Leguizamon, J. S., & Leguizamon, S. (2014). Revisiting the income tax effects of legalizing same‐sex marriages. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 33(2), 263–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Autor, D. H. (2003). Outsourcing at will: The contribution of unjust dismissal doctrine to the growth of employment outsourcing. Journal of Labor Economics, 21(1), 1–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Autor, D. H., Donohue, III, J. J., & Schwab, S. J. (2006). The costs of wrongful-discharge laws. Review of Economics and Statistics, 88(2), 211–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Badgett, M. V. (2009). The economic value of marriage for same-sex couples. Drake L. Rev., 58, 1081–1115.Google Scholar
  7. Badgett, M. V. L., & Mallory, C. (2014). The windsor effect on marriages by same-sex couples. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. December 2014.Google Scholar
  8. Census Bureau (2014). American community survey data on same sex couples.
  9. Dedman, B. (1988, May 1). Atlanta blacks losing in home loans scramble. Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Google Scholar
  10. Dee, T. S. (2008). Forsaking all others? The effects of same‐sex partnership laws on risky sex. The Economic Journal, 118(530), 1055–1078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dillender, M. (2014). The death of marriage? The effects of new forms of legal recognition on marriage rates in the United States. Demography, 51(2), 563–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Flores, A. R. (2014). National trends in public opinion on LGBT rights in the United States. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. November 2014.Google Scholar
  13. Friedman, S., Reynolds, A., Scovill, S., Brassier, F. R., Campbell, R., & Ballou, M. (2013). An estimate of housing discrimination against same-sex couples. Available at SSRN 2284243.Google Scholar
  14. Gates, G. J., & Brown, T. N. T. (2015). Marriage and same-sex couples after obergefell. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. November 2015.Google Scholar
  15. General Accounting Office. (January 2004). Defense of marriage act: Update to prior report. Letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  16. Granziera, E., & Kozicki, S. (2002). House price dynamics: Fundamentals and expectations. Bank of Canada Working Paper 2012-12.Google Scholar
  17. Hoyt, W. H., & Rosenthal, S. S. (1990). Capital gains taxation and the demand for owner-occupied housing. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 72(1), 45–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ioannides, Y. M., & Rosenthal, S. S. (1994). Estimating the consumption and investment demands for housing and their effect on housing tenure status. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 76(1), 127–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jepsen, L. K., & Jepsen, C. A. (2002). An empirical analysis of the matching patterns of same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Demography, 39(3), 435–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Langbein, L., & Yost, M. A. (2009). Same‐sex marriage and negative externalities. Social Science Quarterly, 90(2), 292–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leppel, K. (2007a). Home-ownership among opposite-and same-sex couples in the US. Feminist Economics, 13(1), 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leppel, K. (2007b). Married and unmarried, opposite-and same-sex couples: A decomposition of homeownership differences. Journal of Housing Research, 16(1), 61–81.Google Scholar
  23. Matouschek, N., & Rasul, I. (2008). The economics of the marriage contract: Theories and evidence. Journal of Law and Economics, 51(1), 59–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meyer, B. D. (1995). Natural and quasi-experiments in economics. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 13(2), 151–161.Google Scholar
  25. Mayer, C., & Sinai, T. (2007). Housing and behavioral finance. Prepared for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s “Implications of Behavioral Economics on Economic Policy” conference, September 27.Google Scholar
  26. Munnell, A. H., Tootell, G. M. B., Browne, L. E., & McEneaney, J. (1996). Mortgage lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA data. American Economic Review, 18(1), 25–53.Google Scholar
  27. National Association of Realtors® (2015). Home buyer and seller generational trends report 2015.Google Scholar
  28. National Association of Realtors® (2016). Field guide to quick real estate statistics.Google Scholar
  29. Paciorek, A. (2013). The long and the short of household formation. Working Paper 2013-26. Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs, Federal Reserve Board.Google Scholar
  30. Rosen, H. S., & Rosen, K. T. (1980). Federal taxes and homeownership: Evidence from time series. The Journal of Political Economy, 88(1), 59–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Steinberger, M.D. (2009). Federal estate tax disadvantages for same-sex couples. The Williams Institute.Google Scholar
  32. Trandafir, M. (2015). Legal recognition of same-sex couples and family formation. Demography, 52(1), 113–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2011). A look at the FHA’s evolving market shares by race and ethnicity. U.S. Housing Market Conditions.Google Scholar
  34. Voena, A. (2015). Yours, mine, and ours: Do divorce laws affect the intertemporal behavior of married couples? The American Economic Review, 105(8), 2295–2332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA)  2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations