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The Nexus of Sexual Orientation and Gender in the Determination of Earnings


  • John M. Blandford


This analysis of 1989–96 General Social Survey data reveals how sexual orientation and gender jointly influence earnings outcomes. Gay and bisexual men experienced a 30–32% income disadvantage relative to heterosexual peers, while lesbian and bisexual women enjoyed a wage premium of 17–23%. The disparate earnings effects of sexual orientation across genders suggest that workplace discrimination may be only one factor accounting for measured wage differentials associated with sexual orientation. These findings qualify pioneering work on the subject that indicated that wage differentials were attributable largely to employer bias. A further analysis that distinguishes the separate effects of gender, marital status, and sexual orientation suggests that differentials long attributed to marital status may in part reflect previously unobserved effects of sexual orientation.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Blandford, 2003. "The Nexus of Sexual Orientation and Gender in the Determination of Earnings," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 622-642, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:56:y:2003:i:4:p:622-642

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