Indiana University Study Examines Gender Pay Gaps by Sexual Orientation

INDIANA-LOGO.sflbA new study by Trenton D. Mize, a doctoral student in sociology at Indiana University examines the pay gap faced by gay men and women and bisexual men and women.

Mize examined two large datasets with information on sexual orientation and earnings over a 20-year period. He found that gay men tended to be paid less than heterosexual men. But the differences could be accounted for by the fact the married men and fathers tend to get paid more and gay men are less likely than heterosexual men to be married or fathers. Mize also found that lesbians earn more on average than heterosexual women. But he found that this difference could be explained by the fact that mothers earn less the women without children and lesbians are less likely than heterosexual women to have children.

But when Mize examined the earnings of those individuals who identified themselves as bisexual, he found that the evidence is “highly suggestive” that workplace discrimination is a factor leading to the pay gap. Mize was able to rule out age, education, and occupation as factors leading to the pay gap for bisexual men and women. He concludes that “bisexual men and women face wage penalties that are not explained by human capital differences or occupational characteristics. Perceptions of prejudicial treatment partially explain the observed wage gaps.”

The study “Sexual Orientation in the Labor Market,” was published on the website of the American Sociological Review. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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