Same-sex marriage laws and demand for mortgage credit
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.
KeywordsSame-sex marriage Mortgages Household formation HMDA
JEL ClassificationJ12 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.
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