Please fill out this short user survey of only 3 questions in order to help us improve the site. We appreciate your feedback!
Is the Rental Market Gay-friendly? Evidence from a Field Experiment
Last registered on March 23, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
Is the Rental Market Gay-friendly? Evidence from a Field Experiment
Initial registration date
March 21, 2019
Last updated
March 23, 2019 8:18 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
NOVA School of Business and Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão
PI Affiliation
NOVA School of Business and Economics
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This paper reports the results of a large field experiment that we designed and conducted to investigate gay discrimination in the rental market. Using a popular Portuguese housing rental website, we randomly selected properties in Lisbon and its suburban areas. We then sent four different emails to each landlord, which vary in two dimensions: length (short vs. long) and sexual orientation (heterosexual vs homosexual couple) communicated in the e-mail signature.
We believe that our findings will point out the importance of exploring LGBT discrimination in greater detail. This can only be done with proper identification strategies that reveal hidden discriminatory practices to better orient future public policies.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Bernardino, Tiago et al. 2019. "Is the Rental Market Gay-friendly? Evidence from a Field Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. March 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3997-1.0.
Former Citation
Bernardino, Tiago et al. 2019. "Is the Rental Market Gay-friendly? Evidence from a Field Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. March 23. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3997/history/43968.
Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will analyse three dummy variables and a continuous indicator: i) whether the landlord responded; ii) whether the landlord answers with an invitation to visit the house; iii) the number of characters in the landlord’s answer e-mail; and iv) whether the landlord sent a second email.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We developed a field experiment where 4 fictitious couples (2 gay couples and 2 heterosexual couples) send an email to a landlord that is renting a house. The emails not only change in terms of sexual orientation (gay vs. hetero) but also in length (short vs long email). The longer e-mails comprise information concerning the job status and highlighted that the couple had no children or pets. The sending order as well as the characteristics in the longer e-mail are randomized in this 2X2 design. We use common male or female Portuguese names in the signature of the e-mail to communicate the sexual orientation of the couple in a subtle way to the landlord.
The new data will be gathered collecting real e-mails for the Lisbon NUTS 2 area from the most used website: www.imovirtual.pt
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
We will cluster the standard errors by the respondent. Moreover, in our most demanding specifications, we will include fixed effects at the respondent-level (i.e., landlord or real estate agent). Therefore, these regressions will exploit within responses by these agents, considering several possible confounders. We plan to send to 100 real estate agents and 400 for private announced properties (the replication of the first analysis)
Sample size: planned number of observations
In our first analysis we sent 373*4 e-mails. We will compare the stability of the point estimates with a bigger sample. Power analysis will be preformed.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Each landlord/real estate agent receives 4 times the same email. We will have 4 groups with the same size.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
NOVA School of Business and Economics
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)