M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Distinguished Scholar

M. V. Lee Badgett is a Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute. She is also the director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a professor of economics.  She studies family policy issues and labor market discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and gender.  Her latest book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (NYU Press, 2009), focuses on the U.S. and European experiences with marriage equality for gay couples. She co-edited of the recent book, Sexual Orientation Discrimination:  An International Perspective (Routledge, 2007).  Her first book, Money, Myths, and Change:  The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men (University of Chicago Press, 2001), presented her groundbreaking work debunking the myth of gay affluence.  She is also the author or co-author of numerous journal articles and policy reports.

Prof. Badgett’s policy-related work includes testifying as an expert witness in legislative matters and litigation, analyzing public policies, consulting with regulatory bodies, briefing policymakers, writing op-ed pieces, speaking with journalists, and advising businesses.  In 2010 she was an expert witness in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

She is quoted regularly in newspapers across the country, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post.  She  has appeared on television in the United States and England and on many radio shows in the United States and Europe, including NPR’s “On Point,” “Talk of the Nation,” and “Odyssey:  A Daily Talk Show of Ideas,” along with CNN American Morning.

In 2008, Curve Magazine named Badgett one of the twenty most powerful lesbians in academia.  The Advocate magazine named her one of “Our Best and Brightest Activists” in 1999 for her research and for her efforts to found the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies (now merged with the Williams Institute).  She was named one of the “Out 100” by Out Magazine in 2001 for her first book.

Badgett received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1990, and has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago (1982).  She has also taught at Yale University and the University of Maryland.