The Economics of Lesbian and Gay Families
In this essay, we provide some statistics about the gay and lesbian population in the United States, and ask if analysis based on economic reasoning can provide insight into the family outcomes we observe. We do not start with a hypothesis of innate differences in preferences, but instead seek to understand how differences in constraints systematically alter incentives faced by gay, lesbian, and heterosexual people. Our work reinforces a central theme of Gary Becker's: that family life and economic life are interwoven. Decisions within families -- including couples' decisions to commit to one another, divorce, bear children, or adopt children -- are intrinsically connected to other economic decisions, including human capital accumulation, labor supply, occupational choice, consumption, and decisions about where to live. We provide evidence addressing number of questions: Do differing biological constraints faced by gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples affect choices over children? Do differences in fertility (or anticipated fertility), again owing to differences in constraints, influence where people live? Do same-sex couples have patterns of household specialization that differ in predictable fashion from heterosexual couples?
Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
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Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(2), pages 139-154, May.
- Dan Black & Gary Gates & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 1999. "Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population in the United States: Evidence from Available Systematic Data Sources," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 12, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- Black, Dan & Gates, Gary & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2002. "Why Do Gay Men Live in San Francisco?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 54-76, January.
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