Panel Paper: Valuable Vows? Same-Sex Marriage Legalization and An Examination of the Marriage Premium

Saturday, November 9, 2013 : 9:45 AM
Plaza I (Ritz Carlton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Osborne Jackson, Northeastern University and Ian C Burn, University of California, Irvine
We examine the impact of legalized same-sex marriage on the wage differential between homosexual and heterosexual men.  Theory suggests that higher wages observed for heterosexual married men may or may not be productivity-driven.  Using 1990 U.S. Census data, we confirm that homosexual men earned lower wages than heterosexual men due to the marriage premium.  Adding 2011 ACS data, we find that same-sex marriage legalization in several states significantly increased wages of gay males relative to heterosexual males.  We find little evidence of productivity-related explanations.