The Sexual Orientation Wage Gap for Racial Minorities

Works-in-Progress Series

Speaker: Michael D. Steinberger, Public Policy Fellow, The Williams Institute

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
12:20-1:40 pm
UCLA School of Law
Room 1314
*Lunch will be provided.

Click here to RSVP or call (310) 267-4382.

Abstract: Based on analysis of data from the 2000 U.S. Census, Black and Hispanic partnered gays and lesbians have, on average, less education than their white counterparts, while Asians tend to have the highest average educational attainment. Racial groups also sort differently across occupations and geographic regions. Like whites, Asian and Hispanic partnered lesbian women earn more than their heterosexual counterparts, with particularly large bonuses over cohabiters. Black lesbians earn less on average than their married counterparts. For men, white and Asian members of same-sex couples earn less than heterosexual married men of the same race and more than cohabiting men. For Black and Hispanic men, on the other hand, there was a modest wage boost associated with being in a same-sex couple, and an even larger boost over different-sex cohabitating individuals. Using a Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition it is found that differences in human capital accumulation (particularly education) are the main source behind the observed wage advantages across races, while occupational sorting plays a minimal role at best. Using a DiNardo, Fortin, Lemieux decomposition the paper also explores the sexual orientation wage gap across the distribution of earnings for each race.

Michael D. Steinberger is a Public Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Pomona College. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with degrees in Economics, Political Science and Statistics in 1999. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. Michael’s research is in the area of empirical labor economics, with an emphasis on wage inequality. He is the recipient of Pomona’s Wig Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching, an MIT Economics Fellowship and a Sloan Dissertation Fellowship.

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