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Pink Papers 1: Discrimination Against LGBTQ+ People

Paper Session

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM (EST)

Hosted By: American Economic Association
  • Chair: John A. List, University of Chicago, NBER, and IZA

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

David Schwegman
,
American University
Leonard M. Lopoo
,
Syracuse University
Mattie Mackenzie-Liu
,
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.

Gender Identity, Race, and Ethnicity Discrimination in Access to Mental Health Care: Evidence from an Audit Field Experiment

Patrick Button
,
Tulane University, NBER, and IZA
Eva Dils
,
Tulane University
Luca Fumarco
,
Tulane University
Benjamin Harrell
,
Georgia State University
David Schwegman
,
American University

Abstract

We seek to quantify, using an audit field experiment, to what extent transgender women, transgender men, nonbinary people, and racial and ethnic minorities (African American, Hispanic) face discrimination in access to appointments with mental health professionals (therapists, counselors, and psychologists). To test if trans/nonbinary people and racial and ethnic minorities face discrimination in access to appointments with MHPs, we email MHPs requesting appointments from fictitious prospective patients who vary based on race or ethnicity (white, Hispanic, and African-American names) and based on gender identity. In the email, prospective patients introduce themselves, mention their mental health concern (anxiety, stress, or depression), request an appointment, and, for trans/nonbinary people, mention they are seeking a therapist who is “trans-friendly.” We measure discrimination primarily by comparing the appointment offer rates by race, ethnicity, and gender identity.

Pride in the Flag? LGBTQI Individuals, Social Preferences, and Cooperation

Boon Han Koh
,
University of East Anglia
Billur Aksoy
,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Ian Chadd
,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Abstract

While attitudes toward members of the LGBTQI community in the US have improved over the past few decades, there is mixed evidence concerning their socioeconomic status and labor market outcomes. This paper focuses on pro-social attitudes – namely, altruistic behavior toward and willingness to cooperate with – LGBTQI members. These pro-social attitudes are important features that can have a crucial impact on individuals’ wellbeing and productivity (e.g., in the workplace). Using a novel method to reveal the LGBTQI identities of members in an experimental setting, we examine whether individuals exhibit different pro-social attitudes towards members and non-members of the community. Our findings contribute to debates on the appropriate policies to address discrimination against these individuals both in the workplace and the community at large.
Discussant(s)
Lee Badgett
,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Sherry Xin Li
,
University of Arkansas
JEL Classifications
  • J1 - Demographic Economics
  • C9 - Design of Experiments