Valuable Vows: An Examination of the Marriage Premium Using Same-Sex Marriage Legalization

60 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013 Last revised: 10 Feb 2014

See all articles by Ian Burn

Ian Burn

University of California, Irvine, Department of Economics, Students

Osborne Jackson

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Date Written: February 9, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Burn, Ian and Jackson, Osborne, Valuable Vows: An Examination of the Marriage Premium Using Same-Sex Marriage Legalization (February 9, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2344086 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2344086

Ian Burn

University of California, Irvine, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Irvine, CA
United States

Osborne Jackson (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

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