Panel Paper: A Labor of Love: The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage on Labor Supply

Friday, November 9, 2018
8216 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Michael E Martell, Bard College, Mary E. Hansen, American University and Leanne Roncolato, Franklin and Marshall College

We study how gay men and lesbian women respond to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. Because legalizing same-sex marriage increases the return to joint investment and reduces the risk associated with specializing in home production, we focus on the labor supply response. We exploit variation in the timing of legalization across states, and we use a difference-in-differences strategy. Data come from the Current Population Survey. On average, gay men do not alter hours in paid work in response to legalization, but lesbian women do. Women who are partners in a lesbian couple reduce their annual labor supply by 6-8\% in response to the legalization of same-sex marriage. The effect is largest for women with children. Though both partners in a lesbian couple work less after legalization, the woman who earns less decreases hours of work three times more than her partner does. Supplementary results using the American Time Use Survey show that lesbian partners reallocate work hours primarily to household and care labor.

Full Paper: