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A labor of love: The impact of same-sex marriage on labor supply

Mary Eschelbach Hansen, Michael Martell () and Leanne Roncolato
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Mary Eschelbach Hansen: American University
Leanne Roncolato: Franklin and Marshall College

Review of Economics of the Household, 2020, vol. 18, issue 2, No 1, 265-283

Abstract: Abstract We study how the average labor supply of gay men and lesbian women responds to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. We exploit variation in the timing of legalization across states from 2003 to 2015, and we use a difference-in-differences strategy. Gay men do not alter hours in paid work in response to legalization, but lesbian women do. On average, lesbian women reduce their annual labor supply by 6 percent in response to marriage equality. A battery of robustness checks reinforces the result. The effect of marriage equality is heterogeneous: women who have lower earnings than their partners decrease hours of work 2.5 times more than their partners. Time use data show that lesbian partners reallocate work hours primarily to care labor.

Keywords: Same-sex marriage; Labor supply; Time use; Public policy; J18; D13; J10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s11150-019-09454-1

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