SEXUAL ORIENTATION, SEXUAL HISTORY, AND INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES
Much of the literature on discrimination based on sexual orientation reports significant earnings differentials for gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals when compared with heterosexuals. The General Social Survey (GSS) has been used in multiple papers due to its extensive coverage of demographic variables and sexual behavior in the U.S. This paper uses updated GSS data to investigate two questions: (1) whether the wage differentials found in earlier work have persisted; and (2) how these estimates, which are based on categorizing respondents according to the reported sex of their sex partners, compare to estimates based on the respondents’ self-reported sexual orientation. Results for the years 2008-2014 indicate that self-identification as an LGB individual has no statistically significant effect on income for men or women when compared with those who identify as heterosexual. In addition, there is a statistically significant negative income differential of 32% for men who report having had a same sex partner at some point, but identify as straight/heterosexual, compared to men who identify as gay or bisexual and men who identify as heterosexual and have only had opposite sex partners.
WILL THE KIDS BE ALL RIGHT? THE EFFECTS OF PARENTAL DIVORCE ON INCOME
This paper investigates several aspects of the impact of divorce on children later in life. Previous studies show that individuals with divorced parents tend to have lower income, lower education levels, and problems in their own relationships. The primary purpose of the paper is to determine whether these negative effects persist, particularly for younger generations. Results from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) indicate that some negative effects persist for millennials. The PSID results show that millennial men experience a negative impact on income from parental divorce, although the effect is mitigated if the respondent’s mother worked at any point during his childhood. Additionally, millennial women with divorced parents experience a negative effect on education, however, women’s income is not affected by parental divorce.
THE BURDENS OF STUDENT DEBT: ARE STUDENT LOANS KEEPING YOUNG ADULTS FROM MOVING ON WITH LIFE?
The purpose of this paper is to examine whether and how student loan debt is preventing college graduates from achieving other milestones in life, such as purchasing a home, getting married, and having children. While news articles and surveys indicate that some student loan borrowers are finding themselves in situations where they must delay these milestones, there is little empirical evidence to indicate that this is a common or widespread issue. In addition, I investigate whether and how the impact of student loans differs by gender. A second point of inquiry is whether this is an important issue for economists and public policy makers to address. Using the Survey of Consumer Finances, and with the potential for gender differences in mind, I test the impact of student loan repayment burden on homeownership, age at first marriage, and number of children. Additionally, I examine the debt-to-income ratios of college graduates. Preliminary results indicate that there is very little correlation between student loan repayment burden and homeownership, marital status, or fertility. However, the mean monthly student loan payment-to-income ratio is higher for women.