Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 391–408 | Cite as

Sexual orientation, income, and non-pecuniary economic outcomes: new evidence from young lesbians in Australia



Although there is a growing international literature examining the relationship between sexual orientation and income or wages, there is far less evidence on whether sexual minorities experience systematically different non-pecuniary economic outcomes. I use confidential representative data on over 9,000 young Australian women age 22–27 with information on self-reported sexual orientation, income, and non-pecuniary economic outcomes such as: workplace harassment, job search difficulty, work stress, and job satisfaction. After controlling for demographic and work characteristics, I find that in comparison to heterosexual women the young lesbians in my sample: (1) have lower personal incomes; (2) have significantly higher odds of reporting distressing harassment at work, difficulty finding a job, losing a job, and decreased income; and (3) are significantly more dissatisfied with and report more stress about economic aspects of their lives (e.g. work, career, money). Differentials for non-economic aspects of life are generally smaller. These results for young lesbians in Australia suggest that lesbians are not a universally “privileged” minority and highlight the need for more research into lifecycle variations into both pecuniary and non-pecuniary aspects of economic well-being.


Sexual orientation Economic outcomes Australia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Paul Merage School of BusinessUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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