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Previous Marriage and the Lesbian Wage Premium



This paper provides insight into the wage gap between partnered lesbians and other groups of women. Using data from the 2000 Decennial Census, we find that wages of never-married lesbians are significantly higher than wages of previously married lesbians and other groups of women. Results indicate that controlling for previous marriage reduces the estimated lesbian wage premium by approximately 20 percent. Our research also reveals that wage patterns of previously married lesbians mirror those of cohabiting heterosexual women. Overall, our results are consistent with the notion that the lesbian wage premium is driven, in part, by differences in the labor-market commitment of lesbians and heterosexual women.