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Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Behavioral Norms in the Labor Market

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  • Marina Mileo Gorsuch

Abstract

The author examines bias and behavioral norms based on sex and sexual orientation in the labor market. Using an online laboratory setting, participants were asked to evaluate résumés that were manipulated on sex, perceived LGBT status, and use of traditionally masculine or feminine adjectives. Findings show that male participants penalized résumés that included an LGBT activity, and the penalty was slightly stronger for male résumés. Additionally, men evaluated non-LGBT women who used feminine adjectives more positively than when they used masculine adjectives. Résumés of women with the LGBT activity and men were both immune to this effect. This outcome suggests that perceived-heterosexual women are discouraged from masculine behavior that would be rewarded in the labor market, whereas perceived-LGBT women are not. Men who had the strongest reaction to perceived-heterosexual women using masculine adjectives also had the strongest negative reaction to résumés with an LGBT activity. This pattern suggests that male decision makers are biased in ways that harm LGBT men, LGBT women, and heterosexual women in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Mileo Gorsuch, 2019. "Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Behavioral Norms in the Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 72(4), pages 927-954, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:72:y:2019:i:4:p:927-954
    DOI: 10.1177/0019793919832273
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    References listed on IDEAS

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