Friday, December 11, 2009

Gay couples are different, even on the labor market

When people get married, their labor supply tends to decrease. This may come from the fact that this provides opportunities for specialization in market and home production, in particular through child rearing. When looking at unattached vs. partnered or married individuals, the prediction, and the observation, is thus that the latter work less.

Amélie Lafrance, Casey Warman and Frances Woolley verify this for homosexual individuals. For lesbians, no difference with the rest of the population, but for gays, surprise. Attached or married gays work more. This runs counter to any intuition, except if there is some particular selection into marriage. Puzzling.


David Karp said...

Perhaps gays are more likely to become married or attached in regions which have more positive attitudes toward gays. And perhaps it's easier to find work -- and work more hours -- in those regions with positive attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Could be. In our sample the gay population was really concentrated in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, but I don't remember there being a difference between where singles and partnered people lived. I'd have thought that singles would move to the big cities because it's a better marriage market.

When I talked to my students about these results a lot of them (being young and single) suggested that perhaps single guys didn't spend so much time working because they were spending time searching for partners. We didn't talk about that much in the paper, though, because we don't have any evidence to support our hunches. But I'd really like to get some people's feedback on this.

The other thing in our paper that we really can't explain is why bisexuals have such bad labour market outcomes. A recent study by Randy Albelda, Lee Badget and a couple of other people found the same very poor outcomes among bisexuals in California. They don't explain why it happens either. Does anyone know? Frances

Economic Logician said...

Aren't bisexuals more rebellious and less conformist? If so, it would make sense that they would fit less well in the workplace as well, and thus have worse labor market outcomes.