What Can Life Satisfaction Data Tell Us About Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities? A Structural Equation Model for Australia and the United Kingdom

49 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2014

See all articles by Nattavudh Powdthavee

Nattavudh Powdthavee

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Mark Wooden

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: April 1, 2014

Abstract

Very little is known about how the differential treatment of sexual minorities could influence subjective reports of overall well-being. This paper seeks to fill this gap. Data from two large surveys that provide nationally representative samples for two different countries – Australia (the HILDA Survey) and the UK (the UK Household Longitudinal Study) – are used to estimate a simultaneous equations model of life satisfaction. The model allows for self-reported sexual identity to influence a measure of life satisfaction both directly and indirectly through seven different channels: (i) income; (ii) employment; (iii) health (iv) partner relationships; (v) children; (vi) friendship networks; and (vii) education. Lesbian, gay and bisexual persons are found to be significantly less satisfied with their lives than otherwise comparable heterosexual persons. In both countries this is the result of a combination of direct and indirect effects.

Keywords: Sexual orientation, sexual minorities, discrimination, life satisfaction, HILDA Survey, UKHLS

JEL Classification: I31, J71

Suggested Citation

Powdthavee, Nattavudh and Wooden, Mark, What Can Life Satisfaction Data Tell Us About Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities? A Structural Equation Model for Australia and the United Kingdom (April 1, 2014). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 09/14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2461051

Nattavudh Powdthavee

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44(0)7990815924 (Phone)

Mark Wooden (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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