Effects of sexual preferences on earnings in the Netherlands


A small literature suggests that bisexual and homosexual workers earn less than their heterosexual fellow workers and that a discriminating labor␣market is partly to blame. In this paper we examine whether sexual preferences affect earnings at the beginning of working careers in the Netherlands. Using an alternative, and quite possibly a better, measure of sexual identity, we find (i) that young and highly educated gay male workers earn about 3% less than heterosexual men; (ii) that similarly qualified lesbian workers earn about 3% more than their heterosexual female co-workers; and (iii) that among homosexual workers the gender gap is not observed. From this we conclude that the Dutch labor market does not discriminate on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender in entry-level jobs.

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Correspondence to Erik Plug.

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All correspondence to Erik Plug. Both authors would like to thank Jim Albrecht, Mikael Lindahl, Hessel Oosterbeek, Susan Vroman and an anonymous referee for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Responsible editor: Daniel S. Hamermesh.

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Plug, E., Berkhout, P. Effects of sexual preferences on earnings in the Netherlands. J Popul Econ 17, 117–131 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-003-0136-3

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JEL classification

  • J15
  • J16
  • J71

Key words

  • Earnings
  • sexual preferences
  • gender differences
  • discrimination