Economics of LGBTQ+ Individuals Virtual Seminar Series

Tuesdays at Noon ET (16:00 UTC)


The one-hour seminar includes a 35-minute presentation by the author and 25 minutes for questions and discussion. Please contact Michael Martell at with any questions or feedback.

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Click here for a list of previous seminars.

Upcoming Seminars

Fall 2021 Seminar Schedule


September 14th at 12:00 ET:
Moving for Love? Migration in Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Relationships
Etienne Makdissi (

A large amount of variation is observed in the rate of same-sex relationship across regions of the United States. At the same time, individuals in same-sex relationships are more likely to move towards state with a higher proportion of same-sex relationships, whereas the same pattern doesn't hold for those in opposite-sex relationships. The paper uses a structural relationship matching and location discrete choice model to separate between different drivers of migrations and to identify differences in social acceptance of same-sex relationships across regions. Using these results, I quantify the importance of migration to same-sex relationship formation (at least 10\% of current relationships can be explained by migration), but also how much regional differences explain migration, or in other words how many individuals move for love.

September 21 at 12:00 ET:
Heated Tobacco Products (HTP) Taxation and Tobacco Use in Japan and Korea
Shaoying Ma (, Ce Shang, Kai-Wen Cheng, Hye Myung Lee, Hong Gwan Seo, Sungkyu Lee, Sujin Lim, Sung-il Cho, Shannon Gravely, Steve Xu, Anne C. K. Quah and Geoffrey T. Fong

Abstract: This study examines the taxation policies on heated tobacco products (HTP) in Japan and Korea.  HTP use has rapidly increased since the 2010s in the market of tobacco products, and there is a lack of evidence on the relationship between tobacco use behaviors and HTP taxation policies in different countries across the world.  Using data from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project), we assess the impact of HTP excise taxes on the demand for HTPs in Japan and Korea, and compare it with evidence on cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

September 28th at 12:00 ET:
How Does the Earned Income Tax Credit Affect Household Expenditures for Single Female Heads of Households?
Arian Seifoddini (

I estimate the effect of a conditional cash transfer on the economic well-being of vulnerable households. Specifically, I examine the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on the nondurable expenditures of single female headed households. Using longitudinal data, I study of all major EITC policy changes over time, including the 1975 introduction, a currently understudied aspect of the program. This paper estimates the marginal propensity to consume out of transfer income, providing new evidence on the elasticity of household expenditures to a large lump-sum transfer. I additionally find evidence of a non-linear relationship between EITC refunds and household spending. This research strengthens our knowledge of how public assistance changes the spending decisions of low-income households and our understanding of a population not typically the focus of the household finance literature.

October 5th at 12:00 ET:
Duration Dependence: Learning from Advance Notice
Div Bhagia (

A well documented empirical finding is that the average job-finding probability declines with the duration of unemployment. This reflects some combination of ‘true’ negative duration dependence and of individuals selecting into long-term unemployment. In this paper, I use a novel approach to disentangle their roles by leveraging variation in the length of the notice period an individual receives before entering unemployment. I do not find evidence for negative duration dependence in individual job-finding rates and hence conclude that the depreciation in the average job-finding rate is driven by dynamic selection.

October 12th at 12:00 ET:
Gender Differences in the Cost of Corrections in Group Work
Yuki Takahashi (

Corrections among colleagues is an integral part of group work. Pointing out a colleague's mistake has the potential to improve group performance. However, people may take corrections as personal criticism and dislike colleagues who corrected them. If people dislike female colleagues more, women face a higher hurdle in their career success, and groups cannot fully benefit from their female colleagues. This paper studies whether people dislike collaborating with someone who corrects them and more so when that person is a woman. I find that people are less willing to collaborate with a person who has corrected them even if the correction improves group performance. Nevertheless, people equally dislike corrections from women and men. These findings suggest that while women do not face a higher hurdle, correcting colleagues is costly and reduces group efficiency.

October 19th at 12:00 ET:
Estimating the nature of corruption: evidence from a policy experiment in Brazil
Murilo Ramos (

This paper proposes a test to estimate the nature of political corruption in developing countries: embezzlement by self-enriching politicians versus corruption that originates as a quid-pro-quo from campaign contributions. If politicians decide whether to be corrupt rationally, then increasing the punishment for corrupt practices or the probability of getting caught should reduce corrupt practices (Becker, 1968). If corruption is a response of politicians to firms that finance their campaigns, an increase in punishment should yield not only a reduction in corruption but also a reduction in the demand for projects that are corruptible, such as projects on infrastructure. We test these explanations for corrupt practices using a randomized policy experiment in Brazil. We exploit the fact that some municipalities were randomly chosen to have their probability of being audited increased and we analyze public data of block grants. We find a significant decrease in the resources requested by the mayors to execute projects in infrastructure. This effect is stronger if the municipality has been audited in the past, evidence that mayors respond to credible policies. Moreover, this effect is larger if the mayor’s campaign was strongly financed by construction companies. Finally, treated mayors have their performance in subsequent elections worsened and get less financed by construction companies after the experiment happened. In sum, our findings suggest that mayors are committed to campaign contributors and respond to larger probability of audits by reducing the amount of resources requested for infrastructure projects.

October 26th at 12:00 ET:
From Taxation to Fighting for the Nation: Historical Fiscal Capacity and Military Draft Evasion during WWI
Luca Bagnato (

Do strong states affect the values and actions of their citizens, also in the long-run? And if so, what features of a strong state are decisive in driving this effect? In this paper I study how the historical capacity of a state to extract taxes affects the decision of citizens to evade the mandatory military draft. I look at the Italian military draft in World War I and identify quasi- exogenous variation in tax collection induced by the administrative structure of the Sardinia Kingdom in the 1814-1870 period. Using newly collected and digitised individual data on all the men of the 1899 cohort drafted in the province of Turin, I find that citizens born in towns with lower historical fiscal capacity are more likely to evade the military draft, consistent with fiscal capacity spurring patriotism and norms of obedience in the long-run. Placebo estimates from other Italian territories confirm the effect can be attributed to fiscal (rather than legal) capacity.


November 2nd at 12:00 ET: 
Same-Sex Couples and Parental Earnings Dynamics
Rachel Nesbit ( (with Barbara Downs, Lucia Foster, and Danielle Sandler)

The birth of children results in a large and sustained increase in the earnings gap between male and female spouses in different-sex couples. We examine the earnings of same-sex couples in the U.S. around the time of birth of their first children in order to better understand the behavioral dynamics of parenting. This paper uses linked survey and administrative data to identify same-sex and different-sex couples, their fertility timing, and their earnings dynamics around the date of birth of their first child. We find divergent and informative patterns of earnings dynamics around their first child's birth date for same-sex versus different-sex couples that are not explained by differences in pre-child characteristics of the couples.

November 9th at 12:00 ET:
The effects of anti-LGBTQ+ curriculums: Evidence from Utah's 'no promo homo' repeal
Santiago Deambrosi (

Extensive qualitative research identifies anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum laws (commonly referred to as 'no promo homo' laws) as obstacles to improved school climate. However, due to the systemic lack of data on this demographic, there are no quantitative assessments on the effects of these policies. I exploit rarely-used CDC data and recent innovations on the Synthetic Control Method to study the impact of Utah's 2017 'no promo homo' repeal on a range of outcomes that these policies specifically target, including: instruction of HIV and sexuality, teacher training, the presence of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA's), and school practices related to LGBTQ+ well-being. I also study the impact on teen suicide rates. Most remarkably, I find that the 'no promo homo' repeal closed the gap between Utah and the national average in terms of GSA presence. Based on the findings, I argue that simply repealing ‘no promo homo’ laws might be insufficient to combat decades-long anti-queer school practices—and that these repeals might be more effective accompanied by laws that proactively seek to tackle remaining barriers.

November 16th at 12:00 ET:
Do gender-nonconforming peers influence their classmates' life outcomes?
Abigail R. Banan (

Individuals who break from the norm can face a wide range of reactions from those around them. Tolerance and empathy are the necessary tools for building a society that fosters inclusion and thrives on diversity. Exposure to others often discredits false views about people who are different, diminishes prejudices, and changes behaviors in the non-minorities. Recent literature on migrants and refugees' effects on school-aged children shows that those exposed to migrants grow to be more tolerant and even obtain better grades than those who are never exposed to foreigners. In a similar vein, this paper explores the impact that gender-nonconforming children have on their classroom peers. To do so, we take advantage of a unique longitudinal data set comprising administrative records and surveys that follows the entire cohort of people born in 1953 in Stockholm, Sweden. We use an empirical strategy based on students' random allocation to classrooms and the identification of gender-nonconforming students based on a rich barrage of survey questions collected when they were young children. The number of gender-nonconforming students in each classroom is random; thus, each student's degree of exposure to gender-nonconforming peers is random as well. In this paper, we provide preliminary evidence on the idea that children can influence their classmates' gender conformity. We find evidence suggesting that having more gender-nonconforming students in elementary school reduces their classmates' degree of gender conformity. Moreover, we find that household characteristics such as having a mother with a professional work position or a college-educated father increase gender-nonconformity and that having older siblings decreases gender-nonconformity among boys while increasing gender-nonconformity in girls. We then evaluate whether the exposure to gender-nonconforming peers in elementary school has any impacts on long-term outcomes. We find preliminary evidence indicating that kids exposed to gender-nonconforming peers tend to choose different professional paths, and women tend to delay childbearing. Our paper is the first to provide evidence on the importance of classroom composition in exposing students to gender-nonconforming children and that exposure to those outside the status quo has long-term implications on how others live their lives.

November 23rd at 12:00 ET:

December 7th at 12:00 ET:
Employer Sponsored Health Insurance and Labor Market Outcomes for Gay Men: Evidence from the Advent of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
Conor Lennon (

In the United States, employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) is experience rated at the firm level, potentially reducing labor demand for workers who have greater medical expenditures, such as gay men. To study whether ESI affects labor market outcomes for gay men, I exploit the advent of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), an expensive drug that can prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) acquisition. The Food and Drug Administration approved PrEP (“Truvada”) for HIV prevention in at-risk males in 2012 and the drug costs about $24,000 per person per year. Using American Community Survey data and a difference-in-difference empirical approach - comparing post-PrEP changes in earnings among men who have ESI - I find that earnings for men in same sex couples decline by $4,665 (7.6%) relative to otherwise comparable men after PrEP becomes available. Event study analyses support a causal interpretation. I also observe statistically significant declines in hours worked and the probability of being employed for gay men. My findings are robust to placebo analyses, various specification permutations, and a range of sensitivity checks. For those who are most likely to be taking Truvada, such as young men and white men, effects on earnings are considerably larger.

December 14th at 12:00 ET:
The introduction of Prep and HIV: Incidence, Mortality and Heterogeneity
Sebastian Tello-Trillo (

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is a term that describes medications used to prevent the spread of disease in people who have not yet been exposed to a disease. PrEP was introduced in 2012 as a preventable medication for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This paper studies the effect of the introduction of PrEP on HIV diagnosis and mortality. We use a dose-response strategy across counties and states to identify the effects of PrEP. We find that the introduction of PrEP did not change diagnosis right away but did decrease them a few years after its introduction. The primary constraint was the lack of provider guidance on prescribing prep. We explore the effects of prep on mortality and find significant heterogeneities.

Previous Seminars


April 15, 2020
Ian Burn, University of Liverpool (with Mike Martell)
"Gender Typicality and Sexual Orientation Earnings Differentials"

April 22, 2020
Shuai Chen, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (with Jan van Ours)
"Mental Health Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization"

April 29, 2020
David Schwegman, American University (with Mattie Mackenzie-Liu and Leonard Lopoo)
"Do Foster Care Agencies Discriminate Against Gay Couples? Evidence from a Correspondence Study" 

May 6, 2020
Kitt Carpenter, Vanderbilt University (with Gilbert Gonzales Jr. Tara McKay and Dario Sansone)
"Effects of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Mandate on Health Insurance Coverage for Individuals in Same-Sex Couples" 

May 13, 2020
Charlie Whittington (she/her), Human Rights Campaign Foundation (with Dan Stewart (he/him))
"The Moderating Role of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Relationship Between Income and Complications During COVID-19 Infection" 

May 20, 2020
Ian Chadd, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (with Billur Aksoy)
"Queer Preferences for Competition" 

May 27, 2020
Travis Campbell, University of Massachusetts - Amherst (with Lee Badgett and Everest Brennan)
"Beyond the Gender Binary: Transgender Labor Force Status in the United States 2014-2017" 

June 3, 2020
Emily Nix, University of Southern California (with Martin Eckhoff Andresen)
"What Causes the Child Penalty and How Can it be Reduced? Evidence from Same-Sex Couples and Policy Reforms" 

June 10, 2020
Matthew Shannon, University College, Dublin
"The Labour Market Outcomes of Transgender Individuals"

June 17, 2020
Connor Redpath, University of California, San Diego
"Access to Marriage Affects Couples’ Assortativeness: Evidence from Same-Sex Marriage Legalization"

June 24, 2020
Michael Martell, Bard College
"Tolerance and the Labor Supply of Gays and Lesbians"

July 1, 2020
Joanne Hadaad, University of Ottawa (with Abel Brodeur)
"Institutions, Attitudes and LGBT: Evidence from the Gold Rush" 

July 15, 2020
Ralph Dehaas, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, CEPR, and Tilburg University (with Victoria Baranov and Pauline Grosjean)
"Men. Roots and Consequences of Masculinity Norms" 

August 26, 2020
Raquel Fernandez, New York University (with Sahar Parsa and Martina Viarengo)
"Coming Out in America"

September 16, 2020
Roberto Ivo da Rocha Lima Filho, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
"Decision Neuroscience Applied to a Trading Environment: An EEG Approach"

September 23, 2020
Nir Eilam, University of Texas, Austin (with Scott Delhommer)
"PrEP and Moral Hazard"

October 7, 2020
Luca Fumarco and Eva Dils, Tulane University (with Patrick Button, Benjamin Harrell, and David J. Schwegman)
"Gender Identity, Race, and Ethnicity Discrimination in Access to Mental Health Care: Evidence from an Audit Field Experiment" 

October 14, 2020
William Delgado, University of Chicago
"Teachers’ Comparative Advantage, School Segregation, and Educational Mobility in Chicago Public Schools"

October 21, 2020
Hyunmin Park, University of Chicago
"Specific Human Capital and Employment Dynamics"

October 28, 2020
Hani Mansour, University of Colorado, Denver
"Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic"

November 18, 2020
Ylva Moberg, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) (with Marie Evertsson and Maaike van der Vleuten)
"The child penalty in same-sex and different-sex couples in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland" 

December 2, 2020
Raquel Fernandez, New York University (with Sahar Parsa and Martina Viarengo)
"Coming Out in America" 

December 9, 2020
Lucas Tilley will present "The Labor Market and Health Effects of Gender Dysphoria: Evidence from Sweden" (with Ian Burn, Ylva Moberg and Emma von Essen)

December 16, 2020
Sheheryar Banuri (University of East Anglia) "On the process of discrimination in healthcare: A field experiment with Pakistan’s Transgender community" (with Husnain F. Ahmad and Farasat Bokhari)


February 2, 2021
Samuel Mann, Swanswea University
"Sexual Orientation, Political Trust, and Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies: Evidence from Europe"

February 16, 2021
Marcus Dillender, University of Illinois at Chicago
"Does Place-Based Federal Health Funding Work? Evidence and Lessons from the Fight against HIV/AIDS"

March 2, 2021
Bridget Hiedemann and Lisa Brodoff, Seattle University
"Marriage Equality and Activity Limitations among Older Adults in Same-Sex Relationships"

March 16, 2021
Travis Campbell, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
"Health insurance coverage and health outcomes among transgender adults in the U.S."

March 30, 2021
Silvia Palmaccio, KU Leuven
"Early Labor Market Outcomes of Children in Same-Sex Families: Evidence from Population Data"

April 13, 2021
Joshua Martin, West Virginia University
"The Effect of Same-Sex Partnership Laws on Adoptions and Family Formation in the US"

April 20, 2021
Max Lee, San Francisco State University
"Schooling and Coming Out: Education as a Coping Mechanism"

May 4, 2021
Billur Aksoy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
"Hidden Identity and Social Preferences: Evidence From Sexual Minorities"

May 18, 2021
Raquel Fernandez, New York University (with Sahar Parsa and Martina Viarengo)
"Coming Out in America"

July 20, 2021
Mike Martell, Bard College
“Labor market differentials estimated with researcher-inferred and self-identified sexual orientation”

August 31, 2021
Billur Aksoy, Christopher “Kitt” Carpenter, and Dario Sansone
"Survey Experiments on LGBTQ Individuals: A Preliminary Design"