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Institutions, Attitudes and LGBT: Evidence from the Gold Rush

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  • Brodeur, Abel

    (University of Ottawa)

  • Haddad, Joanne

    (University of Ottawa)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants behind the spatial distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. We relate the size of the present-day LGBT population to the discovery of gold mines during the 19th century gold rushes. Comparing the surroundings of these gold mines to other current and former mining counties, we find that there are currently 10-15% more same-sex couples in counties in which gold discoveries were made during the gold rushes. We also provide empirical evidence that residents of gold rush counties still have more favorable attitudes toward homosexuality nowadays. Our findings are consistent with two mechanisms. First, gold rushes led to a large (temporary) increase in the male-to-female ratio. Second, we show that gold rush counties were less likely to house a notable place of worship at the time of the discovery (and in the following decades) and are currently less religious, suggesting a role of institutions in shaping attitudes and norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne, 2018. "Institutions, Attitudes and LGBT: Evidence from the Gold Rush," IZA Discussion Papers 11957, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11957
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    4. Sugiyama, Yuri, 2022. "Can Soft Law Improve the Welfare of Sexual Minorities? The Case of Same-sex Partnership Policy in Japan," CEI Working Paper Series 2022-06, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Victoria Baranov & Ralph Haas & Pauline Grosjean, 2023. "Men. Male-biased sex ratios and masculinity norms: evidence from Australia’s colonial past," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 339-396, September.
    6. Sansone, Dario, 2019. "Pink work: Same-sex marriage, employment and discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    7. Scott M. Delhommer & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2021. "Same‐Sex Couples and the Gains to Marriage: The Importance of the Legal Environment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(4), pages 1120-1139, September.
    8. Nathan Nunn, 2020. "History as Evolution," NBER Working Papers 27706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ananyev, Maxim & Poyker, Michael, 2021. "Christian missions and anti-gay attitudes in Africa," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 359-374.
    10. Alix-Garcia, Jennifer & Schechter, Laura & Valencia Caicedo, Felipe & Jessica Zhu, S., 2022. "Country of Women? Repercussions of the Triple Alliance War in Paraguay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 202(C), pages 131-167.
    11. Gulesci, Selim & Lombardi, María & Ramos, Alejandra, 2023. "Telenovelas and Attitudes toward the LGBTIQ Community in Latin America," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 12676, Inter-American Development Bank.
    12. Pavel Jelnov, 2019. "What Remains After the Oil Boom Is Over?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(2), pages 1327-1335.
    13. Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne, 2021. "Institutions, attitudes and LGBT: Evidence from the gold rush," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 92-110.
    14. De Haas, Ralph & Baranov, Victoria & Grosjean, Pauline, 2020. "Male-biased Sex Ratios and Masculinity Norms: Evidence from Australia's Colonial Past," CEPR Discussion Papers 14493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Fernández, Raquel & Parsa, Sahar & Viarengo, Martina, 2019. "Coming Out in America: AIDS, Politics, and Cultural Change," IZA Discussion Papers 12360, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Do, Hung X. & Nguyen, Lily & Nguyen, Nhut H. & Nguyen, Quan M.P., 2022. "LGBT policy, investor trading behavior, and return comovement," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 196(C), pages 457-483.
    17. Francesco Berlingieri & Matija Kovacic, 2023. "Health and relationship quality of the LGBTQIA+ population in Europe," Working Papers 2023: 29, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    18. Koyama, Mark, 2022. "Introduction to the special issue on culture, institutions, and religion in economic history," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 105-114.

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    Keywords

    persistence; LGBT; attitudes; religion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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