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Sexual orientation discrimination in hiring

Little research has been done to examine discrimination against gays and lesbians in the labor market. Badgett (1995) conducted the only previous study investigating labor market outcomes of gays and lesbians using a random data set. However, due to the structure of the data, the wage differential between heterosexuals and gays and lesbians that is found can not be directly assigned to employer discrimination. Some gays and lesbians might deploy passing strategies to hide their sexual orientation on the workplace which lower their productivity. Consequently, the measured wage differential is a conglomerate of employer discrimination against "out" workers and lower productivity of those employees trying to conceal their sexual orientation. To investigate whether lesbians’ unfavorable labor market outcomes are due to discrimination or result from passing strategies, a labor market experiment is conducted. Job applications of candidates, who are equivalent in their human capital but differ in their sexual orientation are sent out in response to job advertisements. Furthermore, since it has been suggested that gender non-conformity is one of the reasons why lesbians are disliked, the applicants differ in their perceived gender identity. While results show a strong negative effect for lesbian orientation, gender identity does not have a significant overall impact on hiring chances.

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File URL: http://www.econ.jku.at/papers/2000/wp0021.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2000-21.

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Date of creation: Sep 2000
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Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2000_21
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Web page: http://www.econ.jku.at/

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  1. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  2. M. V. Lee Badgett, 1995. "The Wage Effects of Sexual Orientation Discrimination," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(4), pages 726-739, July.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Peter A. Riach & Judith Rich, 1995. "An Investigation of Gender Discrimination in Labor Hiring," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 343-356, Summer.
  6. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
  7. Jerry M. Newman, 1978. "Discrimination in recruitment: An empirical analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(1), pages 15-23, October.
  8. John M. Blandford, . "Evidence of the Role of Sexual Orientation in the Determination of Earnings Outcomes," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 2000-01, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  10. 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.
  11. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  12. Jeffrey S. Gray, 1997. "The Fall in Men's Return to Marriage: Declining Productivity Effects or Changing Selection?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 481-504.
  13. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Judith Rich & Peter Riach, 1991. "Testing for racial discrimination in the labour market," Natural Field Experiments 00327, The Field Experiments Website.
  15. Michael Firth, 1981. "Racial discrimination in the British labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(2), pages 265-272, January.
  16. M. V. Lee Badgett, 1995. "The wage effects of sexual orientation discrimination," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(4), pages 726-739, July.
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