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Mental Health Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization

Author

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  • Shuai Chen

    (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research)

  • Jan van Ours

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

Sexual minorities have had worse than average mental health, which may have to do with actual or perceived discrimination. Same-sex marriage legalization (SSML) is a typical anti-discrimination policy removing marital restrictions for sexual minorities. We study how this legislation affected mental health of sexual minorities in the Netherlands. Conducting a difference-in-differences analysis, we compare changes in mental health following the legalization between sexual minorities and heterosexuals. We find that SSML improved mental health of both married and non-married sexual minorities, which implies that marriage is not the only channel. Examinations of alternative mechanisms combined with literature suggest that the legislation may also take effect by improving societal tolerance as well as stabilizing partnerships and enriching the choice basket of partnership forms for sexual minorities.

Suggested Citation

  • Shuai Chen & Jan van Ours, 2021. "Mental Health Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-003/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20210003
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    Cited by:

    1. Samuel Mann & Nigel O’Leary & David Blackaby, 2022. "Sexual orientation, political trust, and same-sex relationship recognition policies: evidence from Europe," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 192(3), pages 331-355, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Same-sex marriage; Mental health; Sexual minorities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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