Norms and Reform: Legalizing Homosexuality Improves Attitudes
18 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 13, 2017
This analysis examines the relationship between legal reform and social norms surrounding homosexuality. We document three main findings. First, about a fifth of the variation in individual preferences can be explained at a country level. Second, using a difference-in-differences strategy, legalizing homosexuality improves how individuals view the tone of their communities. Third, we provide further evidence supporting a legal origins argument by examining former colonies. Countries that were colonized by the British Empire have significantly worse legal rights for same-sex couples than those under other colonial powers. We conclude that adopting legal reform can improve societal attitudes.
Keywords: Homosexuality, Legal Reform, Social Norms, Colonialism
JEL Classification: J16, K38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation