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Sexual orientation and the ‘cohabitation gap’ in life satisfaction in Canada

Abstract

The ‘cohabitation gap’ refers to the generally higher life satisfaction of married spouses compared with those who cohabit without being married. The effects of sexual orientation on the cohabitation gap has thus far received no scholarly attention. Exploiting the unique opportunity offered by the Canadian General Social Surveys, the present paper examines how sexual orientation relates to the cohabitation gap for the first time. The data used in this study covers 2010 to 2015, and the life satisfaction gaps are both cardinally and ordinally measured. Regardless of the measurement approach, the cohabitation gap is found to be the largest for gay males and non-existent for lesbians. There is a cohabitation gap for heterosexuals, which is somewhat larger for females. Various explanations are discussed.

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Correspondence to Maryam Dilmaghani.

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Dilmaghani, M. Sexual orientation and the ‘cohabitation gap’ in life satisfaction in Canada. Rev Econ Household 17, 1163–1189 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-018-9433-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-018-9433-1

Keywords

  • Sexual orientation
  • Life satisfaction
  • Cohabitation gap
  • Canada

JEL Classification

  • D13
  • J13
  • J16
  • J22