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What can life satisfaction data tell us about discrimination against sexual minorities? A structural equation model for Australia and the United Kingdom

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  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh
  • Wooden, Mark

Abstract

Very little is known about how the differential treatment of sexual minorities could influence subjective reports of overall well-being. This paper seeks to fill this gap. Data from two large surveys that provide nationally representative samples for two different countries – Australia (the HILDA Survey) and the UK (the UK Household Longitudinal Study) – are used to estimate a simultaneous equations model of life satisfaction. The model allows for self-reported sexual identity to influence a measure of life satisfaction both directly and indirectly through seven different channels: (i) income; (ii) employment; (iii) health (iv) partner relationships; (v) children; (vi) friendship networks; and (vii) education. Lesbian, gay and bisexual persons are found to be significantly less satisfied with their lives than otherwise comparable heterosexual persons. In both countries this is the result of a combination of direct and indirect effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Wooden, Mark, 2014. "What can life satisfaction data tell us about discrimination against sexual minorities? A structural equation model for Australia and the United Kingdom," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60278, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:60278
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nick Drydakis, 2011. "Women's Sexual Orientation and Labor Market Outcomes in Greece," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 89-117, January.
    2. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Wooden, Mark, 2013. "The Marginal Income Effect of Education on Happiness: Estimating the Direct and Indirect Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Well-Being in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 7365, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
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    5. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
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    7. Drydakis, Nick, 2009. "Sexual orientation discrimination in the labour market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 364-372, August.
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    12. Dan A. Black & Seth G. Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2007. "The Economics of Lesbian and Gay Families," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 53-70, Spring.
    13. Nick Drydakis, . "Womenâ??s Sexual Orientation and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 0907, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sexual orientation; sexual minorities; discrimination; life satisfaction; HILDA survey; UKHLS;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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