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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

Listed author(s):
  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

  • Wooden, Mark

    ()

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8127.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8127
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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.
  4. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2009. "I can't smile without you: Spousal correlation in life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 675-689, August.
  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.
  6. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  7. Drydakis, Nick, 2009. "Sexual orientation discrimination in the labour market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 364-372, August.
  8. 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.
  9. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2004. "Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 393-415, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  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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