Pink Papers: LGBT Economics
Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PDT)
- Chair: Lee Badgett, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Unobserved Heterogeneity and Labor Market Discrimination against Homosexuals
AbstractSexual minorities have historically been subject to many kinds of discrimination. Prejudicial treatment in the labor market could arguably be one of them. Despite that, economic literature has remained mostly silent on the topic. This paper fills that void by leveraging on a novel longitudinal data set that collects detailed information on sexual orientation. I develop an empirical strategy that exploits the fact that sexuality is not a dichotomous trait but rather a wide assortment of sexual preferences. I use empirical models that rely on the identification of unobserved heterogeneity, in the forms of skills and sexual orientation, to allow schooling, employment, and income to be endogenously determined. I find that, after controlling for differences in skills distributions, there are no income gaps against employed homosexuals. However, consistent with the existence of discrimination, homosexuals are 10–20 percentage points less likely to be employed than heterosexuals. These gaps cannot be explained by differences in observable characteristics or skills and are larger among men and the college educated. The results suggest that selection on the employment margin contributes to the elimination of the income gaps as only the highly skilled homosexuals—and thus, higher paid—are employed.
Cigarette Taxes and Adult Smoking Among Sexual Minority Adults
AbstractWe provide the first quasi-experimental evidence on the relationship between cigarette taxes and sexual minority adult smoking by studying individuals in same-sex households (a large share of whom are in same-sex romantic relationships) from the 1996-2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We find that cigarette taxes significantly reduced smoking among men and women in same-sex households, and the effects we find for men in same-sex households are significantly larger than the associated effects for men in different-sex households (the vast majority of whom are heterosexual married/partnered men). This result suggests that the sizable disparities in adult smoking rates between heterosexual and sexual minority men would have been even larger in the absence of stricter tobacco control policy. In line with previous research indicating that cigarette taxes have ‘lost their bite’, we find no significant relationship between cigarette taxes and sexual minority smoking in more recent years.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace
AbstractThis paper presents the first quasi-experimental research examining the effect of both local and state anti-discrimination laws on sexual orientation on the labor supply and wages of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) workers. To do so, I use the American Community Survey data on household composition to infer sexual orientation and combine this with a unique panel dataset on local anti-discrimination laws. Using variation in law implementation across localities over time, I find that anti-discrimination laws significantly reduce gaps in labor force participation rate, employment, and the wage gap for gay men relative to straight men. These laws also significantly reduce the labor force participation rate, employment, and wage premium for lesbian women relative to straight women. One explanation for the reduced labor supply and wage premium is that lesbian couples begin to have more children in response to the laws, shifting to a more traditional household with one woman working fewer hours. Finally, I present evidence that state anti-discrimination laws significantly and persistently increased support for same-sex marriage. This research shows that anti-discrimination laws can be an effective policy tool for reducing labor market inequalities across sexual orientation and improving sentiment toward LGB Americans.
- J7 - Labor Discrimination
- J1 - Demographic Economics