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Sexual orientation and household financial decisions: Evidence from couples in the United States

July 13, 2011 Comments off

Sexual orientation and household financial decisions: Evidence from couples in the United States (PDF)
Source: Review of Economics of the Household (forthcoming)

We analyze how sexual orientation is related to household financial decisions using 2000 US Census data, and find that lesbian couples pay higher annual mortgages relative to house value than do heterosexual or gay couples. We also estimate that cohabiting heterosexuals pay more than their married counterparts. We interpret this homosexual-specific differential in homeowners’ propensity to save as reflecting the gender composition of same-sex households, and their very low fertility, beyond the precautionary motives increasing cohabiting couples’ mortgage payments to house value relative to married ones. Evidence from retirement and social security income of older couples exhibits the same pattern of differentials by sexual orientation and cohabiting status.

(Working paper version dated November 30, 2010.)

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