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Self-Reported Sexual Orientation and Earnings: Evidence from California

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  • Christopher S. Carpenter

Abstract

Researchers using the 1988–96 General Social Survey (GSS) have found that behaviorally gay/bisexual men earn 15–30% less, and behaviorally lesbian/bisexual women earn 20–30% more, than similar heterosexuals. This study uses confidential data on self-reported sexual orientation for 50,000 adults in California in 2001, providing more than five times as many respondents who identify themselves as sexual minorities as does the GSS. Previous approaches are extended by using more complete data on earnings, work effort, and job characteristics. Apart from the well-documented marriage premium, the author finds no statistically or economically significant independent effect of a gay or lesbian sexual orientation on earnings. There is some evidence that bisexual men and women earn less than heterosexuals. Analysis of more recent GSS data (including data from 1998–2000) suggests the findings of previous studies are somewhat sensitive to the time period considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher S. Carpenter, 2005. "Self-Reported Sexual Orientation and Earnings: Evidence from California," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(2), pages 258-273, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:58:y:2005:i:2:p:258-273
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    Cited by:

    1. Carpenter, Christopher S., 2007. "Revisiting the income penalty for behaviorally gay men: Evidence from NHANES III," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 25-34, January.
    2. Stijn Baert, 2014. "Career lesbians. Getting hired for not having kids?," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(6), pages 543-561, November.
    3. Lina Aldén & Lena Edlund & Mats Hammarstedt & Michael Mueller-Smith, 2015. "Effect of Registered Partnership on Labor Earnings and Fertility for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence From Swedish Register Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1243-1268, August.
    4. Brendan Cushing‐Daniels & Tsz‐Ying Yeung, 2009. "Wage Penalties And Sexual Orientation: An Update Using The General Social Survey," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(2), pages 164-175, April.
    5. Uhrig, S.C. Noah, 2014. "An examination of poverty and sexual orientation in the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-02, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Hammarstedt, Mats & Aldén, Lina & Swahnberg, Hanna, 2018. "(I Can’t Get No) Job Satisfaction? Differences by Sexual Orientation in Sweden," Working Paper Series 1241, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Jepsen, Christopher & Jepsen, Lisa K., 2009. "Does home ownership vary by sexual orientation?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 307-315, May.
    8. Bruce Elmslie & Edinaldo Tebaldi, 2014. "The Wage Gap against Gay Men: The Leveling of the Playing Field," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 330-345, August.
    9. Nick Drydakis, 2019. "School‐Age Bullying, Workplace Bullying and Job Satisfaction: Experiences of LGB People in Britain," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 87(4), pages 455-488, July.
    10. Michael E. Martell, 2018. "Identity Management: Worker Independence And Discrimination Against Gay Men," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 136-148, January.
    11. Madeline Zavodny, 2008. "Is there a ‘marriage premium’ for gay men?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 369-389, December.
    12. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Carpenter, Christopher S. & Frank, Jeff & Huffman, Matt L., 2018. "Gay Glass Ceilings: Sexual Orientation and Workplace Authority in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 11574, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. M. V. Lee Badgett, 2018. "Left Out? Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Poverty in the U.S," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 37(5), pages 667-702, October.
    14. David Christafore & J. Sebastian Leguizamon, 2013. "Revisiting Evidence of Labor Market Discrimination against Homosexuals and the Effects of Anti-Discriminatory Laws," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 43(2,3), pages 213-238, Winter.
    15. 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.
    16. Stephan Humpert, 2012. "Somewhere over the Rainbow: Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Germany," Working Paper Series in Economics 245, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    17. Joseph J. Sabia & Mark Wooden, 2015. "Sexual Identity, Earnings, and Labour Market Dynamics: New Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n08, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    18. Doris Weichselbaumer, 2013. "Discrimination in gay and lesbian lives," Chapters, in: Deborah M. Figart & Tonia L. Warnecke (ed.),Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 15, pages 236-254, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Carpenter, Christopher S. & Frank, Jeff & Huffman, Matt L., 2019. "Gay glass ceilings: Sexual orientation and workplace authority in the UK," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 167-180.
    20. Jing Wang & Morley Gunderson & David Wicks, 2018. "The Earnings Effect of Sexual Orientation: British Evidence from Worker‐Firm Matched Data," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 56(4), pages 744-769, December.
    21. Botti, Fabrizio & D’Ippoliti, Carlo, 2014. "Don’t ask don’t tell (that you’re poor). Sexual orientation and social exclusion in Italy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 8-25.
    22. Plug, Erik & Berkhout, Peter, 2008. "Sexual Orientation, Disclosure and Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 3290, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    23. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2018. "Sexual Orientation, Labour Earnings, and Household Income in Canada," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 41-55, March.
    24. Michael E. Martell, 2014. "HOW ENDAs EXTEND THE WORKWEEK: LEGAL PROTECTION AND THE LABOR SUPPLY OF BEHAVIORALLY GAY MEN," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 560-577, July.
    25. Ross, Lori E. & O'Gorman, Laurel & MacLeod, Melissa A. & Bauer, Greta R. & MacKay, Jenna & Robinson, Margaret, 2016. "Bisexuality, poverty and mental health: A mixed methods analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 64-72.

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