Erik Plug

Sexual Orientation, Competitiveness, and Income

Published in: Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (Forthcoming). (with Thomas Buser and Lydia Geijtenbeek )

Do gays earn less than other men because they are less competitive? Do lesbians earn more than other women because they are more competitive? To answer these questions, we conduct an experiment on a Dutch online survey panel to measure the competitive preferences of gay, lesbian and straight panel members. We find that gay men compete less than straight men, while lesbians compete as much as straight women. Linking our experimental measure of competitiveness to earnings and education data, we find that competitiveness predicts earnings and education levels and that differences in competitive preferences can partially explain the gay earnings penalty but not the lesbian premium.

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