Valuable Vows: An Examination of the Marriage Premium Using Same-Sex Marriage Legalization
60 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013 Last revised: 10 Feb 2014
Date Written: February 9, 2014
We utilize U.S. same-sex marriage legalization to reexamine the unresolved question of why married men earn higher wages than comparable unmarried men. If this marriage premium operates similarly for homosexual men as it does for heterosexual men, the newfound availability of same-sex marriage creates a unique opportunity to study the determinants of the premium. Using census and ACS data, we find that same-sex marriage legalization in several states is associated with significant increases in the wages of resident gay males. We detect little evidence of productivity-related explanations, suggesting employer discrimination may be the primary cause of the premium.
Keywords: Marriage premium, same-sex marriage, discrimination
JEL Classification: J15, J12, J24, J31, D13
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