Effects of Access to Legal Same-Sex Marriage on Marriage and Health: Evidence from Brfss

59 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2018 Last revised: 11 May 2022

See all articles by Christopher S. Carpenter

Christopher S. Carpenter

Vanderbilt University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Samuel Eppink

Vanderbilt University, College of Arts and Science, Department of Economics, Students

Gilbert Gonzales

Vanderbilt University

Tara McKay

Vanderbilt University

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

We exploit variation in access to legal same-sex marriage (SSM) across states and time to provide novel evidence of its effects on marriage and health using data from the CDC BRFSS from 2000-2016, a period spanning the entire rollout of legal SSM across the United States. Our main approach is to relate changes in outcomes for individuals in same-sex households (SSH) [i.e., households with exactly two same-sex adults], which we show includes a substantial share of gay and lesbian couples, coincident with adoption of legal SSM in two-way fixed effects models. We find robust evidence that access to legal SSM significantly increased marriage take-up among men and women in SSH. We also find that legal SSM was associated with significant increases in health insurance, access to care, and utilization for men in SSH. Our results provide the first evidence that legal access to SSM improved health for adult gay men.

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Christopher S. and Eppink, Samuel and Gonzales, Gilbert and McKay, Tara, Effects of Access to Legal Same-Sex Marriage on Marriage and Health: Evidence from Brfss (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24651, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3210409

Christopher S. Carpenter (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University ( email )

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/kittcarpenter/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Samuel Eppink

Vanderbilt University, College of Arts and Science, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

Gilbert Gonzales

Vanderbilt University ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Tara McKay

Vanderbilt University ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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