Do Laws Shape Attitudes? Evidence from Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies in Europe

57 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2020

See all articles by Cevat Giray Aksoy

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; King’s College London; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Christopher Carpenter

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ralph De Haas

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Tilburg University - Department of Finance

Kevin Ducbao Tran

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - Firms and Markets

Multiple version iconThere are 6 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2020

Abstract

Understanding whether laws shape or simply reflect citizens' attitudes is important but empirically difficult. We provide new evidence on this question by studying the relation between legal same-sex relationship recognition policies (SSRRPs) and attitudes toward sexual minorities in Europe. Using data from the European Social Surveys covering 2002-2016 and exploiting variation in the timing of SSRRPs across countries, we show that legal relationship recognition is associated with statistically significant improvements in attitudes toward sexual minorities. These effects are widespread across demographic groups but are consistently larger for more conservative groups in countries with less gender equality. Our results suggest that laws can exert a powerful influence in shaping societal attitudes.

Keywords: LGB attitudes, Public Opinion, Same-sex relationship recognition policies

JEL Classification: K36, Z1

Suggested Citation

Aksoy, Cevat Giray and Carpenter, Christopher and De Haas, Ralph and Tran, Kevin Ducbao, Do Laws Shape Attitudes? Evidence from Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies in Europe (January 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14309, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3526033

Cevat Giray Aksoy (Contact Author)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

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King’s College London ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Christopher Carpenter

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

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Ralph De Haas

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

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Kevin Ducbao Tran

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - Firms and Markets ( email )

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Berlin, 10117
Germany

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