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The earnings effects of sexual orientation

  • Dan A. Black
  • Hoda R. Makar
  • Seth G. Sanders
  • Lowell J. Taylor

This investigation of the effect of sexual orientation on earnings employs General Social Survey data from 1989-96. Depending largely on the definition of sexual orientation used, earnings are estimated as having been between 14% and 16% lower for gay men than for heterosexual men, and between 20% and 34% higher for lesbian women than for heterosexual women. This evidence, the authors suggest, is consistent with either of two complementary constructions: Gary Becker's argument that male/female earnings differentials are rooted in specialization within households and in optimal human capital accumulation decisions individuals make when they are young; and Claudia Goldin's observations about marriage-based gender discrimination, according to which the paternalistic 'protection' of wives and mothers from the world of work has tended to overlook lesbians. (Author's abstract.) (Free full-text download available at http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/ilrreview/.)

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

Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 449-469

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:56:y:2003:i:3:p:449-469
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