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MEASURING THE EFFECT OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION ON INCOME: EVIDENCE OF DISCRIMINATION?

Authors

  • Nathan Berg,

    1. Berg: Cecil and Ida Green Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Dallas, GR 31 211300, Box 830688, Richardson, TX 75083. E-mail nberg@utdallas.edu
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  • Donald Lien

    1. Lien: Professor, Department of Economics, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249. E-mail dlien@utsa.edu
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    • *

      This is a Revised version of a paper presented at the Midwest Economertics Group Meeting, March 2000, in Checago, Illinois, as part of a session organized by Mark Jensen, Brigham Young University. The authors are grateful to Lawrence Marsh, Joseph Sicilian, Ted Juhl, Joshua Rosenbloom, Robert Michaels, and three anony-mous referees for their comments and suggestions.


Abstract

The effect of nonheterosexuality on individual income is estimated using 1991–1996 General Social Survey data. Other researchers have concluded that homosexuals earn less than similarly qualified workers, in contrast to the popular perception that homosexuals are more affluent than nonhomosexuals. Using improved statistical techniques, this article finds noticeable earnings effects that go in opposite directions across genders. Nonheterosexual men earn 22% less than heterosexual men, and nonheterosexual women earn 30% more than heterosexual women. These findings, viewed together with previous empirical work on this topic, help narrow the field of theories that can explain the sexual-orientation earnings gaps present in the data.

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