What Drives the Gender Gap? An Analysis Using Sexual Orientation
CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 505
44 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2014 Last revised: 22 Jul 2016
Date Written: February 1, 2014
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