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Do Gays Shy Away from Competition? Do Lesbians Compete Too Much?

Listed author(s):
  • Buser, Thomas

    ()

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Geijtenbeek, Lydia

    ()

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Plug, Erik

    ()

    (University of Amsterdam)

It is an established fact that gay men earn less than other men and lesbian women earn more than other women. In this paper we study whether differences in competitive preferences, which have emerged as a likely determinant of labour market differences between men and women, can provide a plausible explanation. We conduct an experiment on a Dutch online survey panel to measure the competitiveness of gay, lesbian and straight panel members. For differences in competitiveness to partially explain sexual orientation differences in earnings, gay men would need to be less competitive than other men and lesbian women more competitive than other women. Our findings confirm this competitiveness hypothesis for men, but not for women. Gay men compete less than other men, while lesbian women compete as much as other women. Linking our experimental measure to survey data, we show that competitiveness is a significant predictor of earnings. Differences in competitiveness can account for a significant portion of the gay earnings penalty, but cannot explain the lesbian premium.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 9382.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2015
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9382
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  1. Mats Hammarstedt & Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson, 2015. "Sexual Prejudice and Labor Market Outcomes for Gays and Lesbians: Evidence from Sweden," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 90-109, January.
  2. Jeffrey Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Erik Plug & Dinand Webbink & Nick Martin, 2014. "Sexual Orientation, Prejudice, and Segregation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 123-159.
  4. Bosch, Nicole & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2012. "Analyzing female labor supply — Evidence from a Dutch tax reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 271-280.
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  7. Heather Antecol & Anneke Jong & Michael Steinberger, 2008. "The Sexual Orientation Wage Gap: The Role of Occupational Sorting and Human Capital," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 61(4), pages 518-543, July.
  8. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2003. "Sexual orientation discrimination in hiring," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 629-642, December.
  9. Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund, 2007. "Do Women Shy Away From Competition? Do Men Compete Too Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1067-1101.
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  11. 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.
  12. Drydakis, Nick, 2009. "Sexual orientation discrimination in the labour market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 364-372, August.
  13. Thomas Buser & Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2014. "Gender, Competitiveness, and Career Choices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1409-1447.
  14. Reuben, Ernesto & Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2013. "Preferences and Biases in Educational Choices and Labor Market Expectations: Shrinking the Black Box of Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 7579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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.
  16. Edinaldo Tebaldi & Bruce Elmslie, 2006. "Sexual orientation and labour supply," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 549-562.
  17. Ali M. Ahmed & Lina Andersson & Mats Hammarstedt, 2013. "Are Gay Men and Lesbians Discriminated against in the Hiring Process?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 565-585, January.
  18. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
  19. Berge, Lars Ivar Oppedal & Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Garcia Pires, Armando Jose & Tungodden, Bertil, 2015. "Competitive in the lab, successful in the field?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 303-317.
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