What Drives the Gender Gap? An Analysis Using Sexual Orientation
Kyklos 68: 577-608, 2015
27 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2010 Last revised: 15 Jun 2021
Date Written: July 20, 2015
Gender differences in productivity, if any, that are unobserved to researchers may produce an omitted variable bias in gender gap studies. Finding a subpopulation with less acute differences in unobserved characteristics would allow this concern to be addressed. This paper argues that gays and lesbians are one such interesting group --- for the intra-household division of labor and its effects on market productivity cannot be sex-determined in this subpopulation. Indeed, there are substantial intra-household variations in labor market outcomes and other characteristics; the patterns and magnitudes are similar to different-sex households. Simultaneously, the gender wage gap between gays and lesbians is much smaller than in the heterosexual population; in specifications that control for geographic location it is near zero. These findings suggest that the intra-household division of labor is an important factor driving gender differences in labor market outcomes. Such an interpretation is consistent with recent studies that control for productivity.
Keywords: Gender gap, sexual division of labor, discrimination, specialization
JEL Classification: J16, D10, J22, J24, J70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation