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What Drives the Gender Gap? An Analysis Using Sexual Orientation

  • Josef Montag

Gender differences in productivity, if any, that are unobserved to researchers may produce an omitted variable bias in gender gap studies. Finding a subpopulation with less acute differences in unobserved characteristics would allow this concern to be addressed. This paper argues that gays and lesbians are one such interesting group—for the intra-household division of labor and its effects on market productivity cannot be sex-determined in this subpopulation. Indeed, there are substantial intra-household variations in labor market outcomes and other characteristics; the patterns and magnitudes are similar to different-sex households. Simultaneously, the gender wage gap between gays and lesbians is much smaller than in the heterosexual population; in specifications that control for geographic location it is near zero. These findings suggest that the intra-household division of labor is an important factor driving gender differences in labor market outcomes. Such an interpretation is consistent with recent studies that control for productivity.

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp505.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp505
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  1. Bruce Elmslie & Edinaldo Tebaldi, 2007. "Sexual Orientation and Labor Market Discrimination," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 436-453, July.
  2. Ghazala Azmat & Rosa Ferrer, 2012. "Gender Gaps in Performance: Evidence from Young Lawyers," CEP Discussion Papers dp1136, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. 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.
  4. Sylvia A. Allegretto & Michelle M. Arthur, 2001. "An Empirical analysis of homosexual/heterosexual male earnings differentials: Unmarried and unequal?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 631-646, April.
  5. Plug, Erik & Berkhout, Peter, 2001. "Effects of Sexual Preferences on Earnings in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 344, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. John M. Blandford, 2003. "The nexus of sexual orientation and gender in the determination of earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 622-642, July.
  7. Ali Ahmed & Mats Hammarstedt, 2010. "Sexual orientation and earnings: a register data-based approach to identify homosexuals," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 835-849, June.
  8. Ali Ahmed & Lina Andersson & Mats Hammarstedt, 2013. "Sexual orientation and full-time monthly earnings, by public and private sector: evidence from Swedish register data," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 83-108, March.
  9. Christopher Carpenter, 2004. "New Evidence on Gay and Lesbian Household Incomes," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(1), pages 78-94, 01.
  10. Dan Black & Gary Gates & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2000. "Demographics of the gay and lesbian population in the United States: Evidence from available systematic data sources," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 139-154, May.
  11. Nathan Berg & Donald Lien, 2002. "Measuring The Effect Of Sexual Orientation On Income: Evidence Of Discrimination?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 394-414, October.
  12. Suzanne Heller Clain & Karen Leppel, 2001. "An investigation into sexual orientation discrimination as an explanation for wage differences," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 37-47.
  13. Black, Dan & Gates, Gary & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2002. "Why Do Gay Men Live in San Francisco?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 54-76, January.
  14. Christopher S. Carpenter, 2008. "Sexual orientation, work, and income in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1239-1261, November.
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