Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 1–44 | Cite as

Sexual Orientation, Unemployment and Participation: Are Gays Less Employable than Straights?

  • Thierry Laurent
  • Ferhat Mihoubi


This paper is the first attempt to assess, in a unified econometric framework, the existence and the magnitude of both the sexual orientation participation gap and the sexual orientation unemployment gap. Having identified male same-sex couples using the Employment Survey, we use a bivariate probit selection model where the labor supply and the employment equation are jointly estimated for the French labor market. The results show that both participation and employment probabilities are significantly lower for gay employees compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Further investigations indicate that young gay workers, particularly, are more exposed to the unemployment risk than older ones. The beginning of a professional career and the subsequent entry to the labor market appear to be difficult steps to overcome for gay workers who spend more time than their heterosexual counterparts to find the good job.


Employment discrimination Sexual orientation Queer economics 

JEL classification

J7 J15 



The authors would like to thank an anonymous referee for his helpful comments and suggestions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies (EPEE)University Evry-Val d’EssonneEvry cedexFrance
  2. 2.Department of Economics, ERUDITEUniversity Paris-Est CréteilCréteil cedexFrance

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