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Do Foster Care Agencies Discriminate Against Gay Couples? Evidence from a Correspondence Study

Mattie Mackenzie-Liu (), David J. Schwegman () and Leonard M. Lopoo ()
Additional contact information
Mattie Mackenzie-Liu: Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/cpr/people/Mackenzie-Liu_Mattie/
David J. Schwegman: Department of Economics and Center for Policy Research, 127 eggers Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020, https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/cpr/
Leonard M. Lopoo: Department of Economics and Center for Policy Research, 127 eggers Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020, https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/cpr_about.aspx?id=6442451861

No 224, Center for Policy Research Working Papers from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Abstract: There has been considerable recent debate regarding proposed policies that would allow foster care administrators to discriminate on the basis of the sexual orientation of the foster parent. To date, however, we know very little about the level of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the foster care system. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical investigation to ask whether foster care agencies, the public and nonprofit firms that facilitate foster care placements, respond similarly to emails sent by fictitious same-sex and heterosexual couples who inquire about becoming foster parents. Our results suggest that while foster care agencies respond at somewhat similar rates to gay male couples, gay female couples and heterosexual couples, responses sent to gay males are of lower quality. Gay males receive much shorter responses that take longer to receive. Responses to gay male couples are also less likely to include key pieces of information about the process of becoming a foster parent, such as information about informational sessions or being given an application. We do not find any evidence of differential treatment towards same-sex female couples.

Keywords: Child Welfare; Foster Care; LGBTQ; Discrimination; Field Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 H75 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pages
Date: 2020-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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