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Life satisfaction and sexual minorities: Evidence from Australia and the United Kingdom

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  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh
  • Wooden, Mark

Abstract

Very little is known about how the differential treatment of sexual minorities could influence subjective reports of overall well-being. This paper seeks to fill this gap. Data from two large surveys that provide nationally representative samples for two different countries – Australia and the UK – are used to estimate a simultaneous equations model of life satisfaction. The model allows for self-reported sexual identity to influence a measure of life satisfaction both directly and indirectly through seven different channels: (i) income; (ii) employment; (iii) health (iv) marriage and de facto relationships; (v) children; (vi) friendship networks; and (vii) education. Lesbian, gay and bisexual persons are found to be significantly less satisfied with their lives than otherwise comparable heterosexual persons. In both countries this is the result of a combination of direct and indirect effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Wooden, Mark, 2015. "Life satisfaction and sexual minorities: Evidence from Australia and the United Kingdom," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 107-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:116:y:2015:i:c:p:107-126
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.04.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2020. "Symbolism matters: The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on partnership stability," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 44-58.
    2. Perales, Francisco & Todd, Abram, 2018. "Structural stigma and the health and wellbeing of Australian LGB populations: Exploiting geographic variation in the results of the 2017 same-sex marriage plebiscite," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 208(C), pages 190-199.
    3. Majumder, Monoj Kumar & Raghavan, Mala & Vespignani, Joaquin, 2020. "Oil curse, economic growth and trade openness," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    4. Dilmaghani, Maryam & Dean, Jason, 2020. "Sexual orientation and homeownership in Canada," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C).
    5. Sarah Brown & Alexandros Kontonikas & Alberto Montagnoli & Mirko Moro & Luisanna Onnis, 2019. "Life satisfaction and austerity: Expectations and Macroeconomy," Working Papers 2019011, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    6. Eleftherios Giovanis & Oznur Ozdamar, 2016. "Structural Equation Modelling And The Causal Effect Of Permanent Income On Life Satisfaction: The Case Of Air Pollution Valuation In Switzerland," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 430-459, July.
    7. Mann, Samuel & Blackaby, David & O’Leary, Nigel, 2019. "Sexual identity and wellbeing: A distributional analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 133-136.
    8. Prakash, Kushneel & Smyth, Russell, 2019. "‘The quintessential Chinese dream’? Homeownership and the subjective wellbeing of China's next generation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    9. Niclas Berggren & Christian Bjørnskov & Therese Nilsson, 2017. "What Aspects of Society Matter for the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 1163-1192, July.
    10. Prakash, Kushneel & Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell, 2020. "Petrol prices and subjective wellbeing," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    11. Berggren, Niclas & Nilsson, Therese & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2015. "What Aspects of Society Affect the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index," Working Paper Series 1101, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    12. Majumderad, Monoj Kumar & Raghavan, Mala & Vespignani, Joaquin, 2020. "Oil Curse," MPRA Paper 101138, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2020.
    13. Drydakis, Nick & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2020. "Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Labour Market Outcomes: New Patterns and Insights," GLO Discussion Paper Series 627, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    14. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2019. "Sexual orientation and the ‘cohabitation gap’ in life satisfaction in Canada," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1163-1189, December.
    15. Bethany Cooper, 2017. "What drives compliance? An application of the theory of planned behaviour to urban water restrictions using structural equation modelling," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(14), pages 1426-1439, March.
    16. Salim, Ruhul & Yao, Yao & Chen, George S., 2017. "Does human capital matter for energy consumption in China?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 49-59.
    17. Sabia, Joseph J. & Wooden, Mark & Nguyen, Thanh Tam, 2018. "Sexual identity, same-same relationships, and health dynamics: New evidence from Australia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 24-36.
    18. O’Leary, Nigel & Li, Ian W. & Gupta, Prashant & Blackaby, David, 2020. "Wellbeing trajectories around life events in Australia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 499-509.

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