What Aspects of Society Matter for the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index
- 800 Downloads
There is great variation in views on and treatment of minorities such as gay men across the world. We are the first to pinpoint what features of societies are beneficial to gay men’s quality of life by using a unique new cross-country dataset covering 110 countries, the Gay Happiness Index. It covers how gays perceive public opinion about them, how they experience behavior towards them and how satisfied they are with their lives. Our study is based on the premise that it is important to look at minority-specific effects of policies and institutions and not solely at the effects for the average citizen, as well as the transmission mechanisms through which policies and institutions affect life satisfaction. We find that factors such as equal legal rights for gay people, GDP per capita, democracy and globalization relate positively to the quality of life of gay men, primarily by shaping public opinion and behavior in a pro-gay direction. Religion (the shares of Muslims and Orthodox Christians) and living in a post-communist country tend to relate negatively to our quality of life indicators. Most of these factors have been shown to matter for the well-being of people in general as well, which may be taken to suggest that gay people benefit from being included in society—legally, socially and economically—on the same terms as others.
KeywordsGay Minorities Happiness Well-being Life satisfaction Institutions
The authors wish to thank Andreas Bergh, Jerg Gutmann, Martin Rode, Reto Odermatt and participants of the 17th Danish Public Choice Workshop (Copenhagen, 2016), the Public Choice Society conference (Fort Lauderdale, 2016) and the European Public Choice Society meeting (Freiburg, 2016) for helpful comments and the Swedish Research Council (Berggren and Nilsson), Torsten Söderberg’s Foundation (Berggren and Nilsson), the Czech Science Foundation (Grant 16-19934S) (Berggren and Nilsson) and the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation (Bjørnskov) for financial support.
- Alexander, A. C., Inglehart, R., & Welzel, C. (2015). Emancipating sexuality: Breakthroughs into a bulwark of tradition. Social Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-015-1137-9.
- American Psychological Association. (2008). Sexual orientation and homosexuality. http://web.archive.org/web/20130808032050/http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx.
- Becker, G. S. (1957). The economics of discrimination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Bilz, K., & Nadler, J. (2014). Law, moral attitudes and behavioral change. In E. Zamir & D. Taichman (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of behavioral economics and the law (pp. 241–267). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Boeri, T., Patacchini, E., & Peri, G. (Eds.). (2015). Unexplored dimensions of discrimination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Case, A., & Deaton, A. (2015). Suicide, age, and well-being: An empirical investigation. In D. A. Wise (Ed.), Insights into the economics of ageing. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
- CIA. (2015). The CIA world factbook. Langley, VA: Central Intelligence Agency.Google Scholar
- Dixit, A. K., & Stiglitz, J. E. (1977). Monopolistic competition and optimal product diversity. American Economic Review, 67, 297–308.Google Scholar
- Donadio, R. (2013). On gay priests, pope Francis asks, “Who am I to judge?” New York Times, July 29.Google Scholar
- Duberman, M., Vicinus, M., & Chauncey, G, Jr (Eds.). (1990). Hidden from history: Reclaiming the gay and lesbian past. New York: Meridian.Google Scholar
- Fidrmuc, J., & Tunalı, Ç. B. (2015). Happiness and religion. CESifo working paper no. 5437. Munich: CESifo.Google Scholar
- Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002). Happiness and economics: How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Friedman, B. (2005). The moral consequences of growth. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
- Gallup. (2014). Gallup world poll. www.gallup.com/consulting/worldpoll/24046/About.aspx.
- Gates, G. J. (2011). How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender? Report. Los Angeles: The Williams Institute, UCLA. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/09h684x2.
- Glaeser, E. D. (2011). Triumph of the city. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
- Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2015). World happiness report 2015. New York: The Earth Institute, Columbia University.Google Scholar
- Helliwell, J. F., & Wang, S. (2011). Trust and wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1, 42–78.Google Scholar
- Heston, A., Summers, R., & Aten, B. (2012). Penn world tables version 7.1. Philadelphia: Center for International Comparisons of Production, Income and Prices, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- ILGA. (2015). State-sponsored homophobia: A world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love. Geneva: ILGA.Google Scholar
- Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2009). Governance matters VIII: Aggregate and individual governance indicators, 1996–2008. World bank policy research working paper no. 4978. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
- KOF. (2015). KOF index of globalization. http://globalization.kof.ethz.ch/.
- Lemke, R., Tornow, T., & PlanetRomeo.com (2015). Gay happiness monitor—Results overview from a global survey on perceived gay-related public opinion and gay well-being. Report. Mainz: Johannes Gutenberg University. www.planetromeo.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/GAY_HAPPINESS_MONITOR_2015.pdf.
- Mondimore, F. M. (1996). A natural history of homosexuality. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Mukand, S., & Rodrik, D. (2015). The political economy of liberal democracy. NBER working paper no. 21540. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Phelps, E. S. (1972). The statistical theory of racism and sexism. American Economic Review, 62, 659–661.Google Scholar
- Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
- van den Akker, H., Blaauw, J., Lubbers, M., van der Ploeg, R., Scheepers, P., & Verbakel, E. (2013). Health and happiness among gay couples in European countries 2002–2010. International Psychiatry, 10, 31–33.Google Scholar
- Weinstein, N., Ryan, W. S., DeHaan, C. R., Przybylski, A. K., Legate, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities: Dynamics of self-acceptance and defense. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 815–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- World Bank. (2015). World development indicators. http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators.
- World Values Survey (2015). Online database. www.worldvaluessurvey.org.