We examine the relationship between legalized same-sex marriage and the wage differential between homosexual and heterosexual men. Theory suggests that higher wages observed for heterosexual married men may or may not be productivity-driven. Using 1990 U.S. Census data, we confirm that homosexual men earned lower wages than comparable heterosexual men primarily due to the marriage premium. Adding 2011 ACS data, we find that same-sex marriage legalization in several states is associated with significant increases in the wages of gay males compared to heterosexual males. We detect little evidence of productivity-related explanations, suggesting that employer discrimination may be the primary cause of the marriage premium.
Oct 25, 2013
Same-Sex Marriage and a Marriage Premium