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The Sexual Orientation Wage Gap: The Role of Occupational Sorting and Human Capital

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  • Heather Antecol
  • Anneke Jong
  • Michael D. Steinberger
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    Abstract

    Using data from the 2000 U.S. Census, the authors explore two alternative explanations for the sexual orientation wage gap: occupational sorting, and human capital differences. They find that lesbian women earned more than their heterosexual counterparts irrespective of marital status, while gay men earned less than similar married heterosexual men but more than similar cohabitating heterosexual men. Results of a Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition indicate that the relative wage advantages observed for some groups of lesbians and gay men were mainly owing to their superior human capital accumulation (particularly education), while occupational sorting had little or no influence. The relative wage penalties that were observed in other cases, however, cannot be attributed either to differences in occupational sorting or to human capital. An analysis employing an alternative decomposition, one allowing for variation in the wage gap at different points along the wage distribution, broadly confirms these results, although with some variation.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (July)
    Pages: 518-543

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:61:y:2008:i:4:p:518-543

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    Cited by:
    1. Amélie Lafrance & Casey Warman & Frances Woolley, 2009. "Sexual Identity And The Marriage Premium," Working Papers, Queen's University, Department of Economics 1219, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    2. Berggren, Niclas & Elinder, Mikael, 2010. "Is Tolerance Good or Bad for Growth?," Working Paper Series, Research Institute of Industrial Economics 846, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. Doris Weichselbaumer, 2013. "Testing for discrimination against lesbians of different marital status: A field experiment," NRN working papers 2013-06, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    4. Nandi, Alita & Nicoletti, Cheti, 2009. "Explaining personality pay gaps in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-22, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Stephan Humpert, 2012. "Somewhere over the Rainbow: Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Germany," Working Paper Series in Economics 245, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    6. Clarke, Geoffrey & Sevak, Purvi, 2013. "The disappearing gay income penalty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 542-545.
    7. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Helland, Eric, 2011. "Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination," IZA Discussion Papers 5831, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Antecol, Heather & Steinberger, Michael D., 2009. "Female Labor Supply Differences by Sexual Orientation: A Semi-Parametric Decomposition Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4029, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Jesús CLEMENTE & Millán DIAZ-FONCEA & Carmen MARCUELLO & Marcos SANSO-NAVARRO, 2012. "The Wage Gap Between Cooperative And Capitalist Firms: Evidence From Spain," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 83(3), pages 337-356, 09.

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