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

  • Heather Antecol
  • Anneke Jong
  • Michael D. Steinberger
Registered author(s):

    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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    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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