Forsaking All Others? The Effects of "Gay Marriage" on Risky Sex

40 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2005 Last revised: 17 Jul 2009

See all articles by Thomas S. Dee

Thomas S. Dee

Stanford University - School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

One of the conjectured benefits of establishing the legal recognition of samesex partnerships is that it would promote a culture of responsibility and commitment among homosexuals. A specific implication of this claim is that "gay marriage" will reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STI). In this study, I present a simple 2-period model, which provides a framework for discussing the ways in which gay marriage might reduce (or increase) the prevalence of STI. Then, I present reduced-form empirical evidence on whether gay marriage has actually reduced STI rates. These evaluations are based on country-level panel data from Europe, where nations began introducing national recognition of same-sex partnerships in 1989. The results suggest that these gay-marriage laws led to statistically significant reductions in syphilis rates. However, these effects were smaller and statistically imprecise with respect to gonorrhea and HIV.

Suggested Citation

Dee, Thomas S., Forsaking All Others? The Effects of "Gay Marriage" on Risky Sex (May 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11327, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=720413

Thomas S. Dee (Contact Author)

Stanford University - School of Education ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-3096
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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