Jon Hilsenrath of The Wall Street Journal reports on the most offbeat papers of this year’s American Economic Association meetings. One of our favorites — in light of our recent “Are Gay Men Really Rich?” podcast — is this one:
FIND A NEW “GAYBORHOOD” FOR BETTER HOUSING RETURNS
Janice Madden of the University of Pennsylvania and Matthew Ruther of the University of Colorado studied census tract data and the American Community Survey to examine the locations of gay male and lesbian partnerships in 38 large U.S. cities. They found that census tracts that start the decade with more gay men experienced significantly greater growth in household incomes and, in the Northeast and West, also greater population growth over the next decade than those census tracts with fewer gay men. Census tracts with more lesbians at the start of the decade saw no difference in population or income growth.
Another favorite examines the long-term outcomes of children conceived during heat waves. Read More »
Our latest episode is called “Are Gay Men Really Rich?” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) It began with a question from Freakonomics Radio listener Danny Rosa:
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ROSA: I’m wondering why gay men are so affluent and successful. If you walk around neighborhoods like West Hollywood in Los Angeles, the Castro in San Francisco, and Boystown in Chicago, they are all very well-kept, expensive, and highly sought-after. So, I’m thinking, what is it about gay men and the gay culture that makes them so wealthy?
That is the argument made in a new paper (abstract; PDF) by Katherine Coffman, Lucas Coffman, and Keith Marzilli Ericson, entitled “The Size of the LGBT Population and the Magnitude of Anti-Gay Sentiment Are Substantially Underestimated”:
Measuring sexual orientation, behavior, and related opinions is difficult because responses are biased towards socially acceptable answers. We test whether measurements are biased even when responses are private and anonymous and use our results to identify sexuality-related norms and how they vary. We run an experiment on 2,516 U.S. participants. Participants were randomly assigned to either a “best practices method” that was computer-based and provides privacy and anonymity, or to a “veiled elicitation method” that further conceals individual responses. Answers in the veiled method preclude inference about any particular individual, but can be used to accurately estimate statistics about the population. Comparing the two methods shows sexuality-related questions receive biased responses even under current best practices, and, for many questions, the bias is substantial. The veiled method increased self-reports of non-heterosexual identity by 65% (p<0.05) and same-sex sexual experiences by 59% (p<0.01). The veiled method also increased the rates of anti-gay sentiment. Respondents were 67% more likely to express disapproval of an openly gay manager at work (p<0.01) and 71% more likely to say it is okay to discriminate against lesbian, gay, or bisexual individuals (p<0.01). The results show non-heterosexuality and anti-gay sentiment are substantially underestimated in existing surveys, and the privacy afforded by current best practices is not always sufficient to eliminate bias. Finally, our results identify two social norms: it is perceived as socially undesirable both to be open about being gay, and to be unaccepting of gay individuals.
Gay marriage and gay rights have dominated much of the U.S. news over the past week. In Russia, meanwhile, from the Associated Press:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a measure that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality. …
The ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values over Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin’s rule.
Hefty fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or hold gay pride rallies.
Joe Clark, who has previously written about women’s hockey, took a look at the myths surrounding gay and lesbian income statistics. Interestingly, Clark found that “[g]ay males earn less than straight males, often much less. Meanwhile, lesbians earn more than straight females.” Read More »
| Polling guru Nate Silver has built a regression model, based on demographic and political trends, to forecast when a majority of the voting public in each of the 50 states might vote against a gay-marriage ban, or vote to repeal an existing one. His findings: by 2016, most states will have legalized gay marriage, […] Read More »
Reputations are powerful, vulnerable, fragile things. Sometimes they shift overnight (think Bernie Madoff); often they are decades in the making. I’ve always been interested in the reputations of institutions, especially universities, and the degree to which relatively small events loom very large in long-term reputation. Latest example: George Mason University is, in the public mind […] Read More »
See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die. In “Proposition 8 — The Musical,” Neil Patrick Harris argues “there’s money to be made” — from weddings (and subsequent divorces) if California legalizes same-sex marriage. But my coauthor Jennifer Gerard Brown beat him to the punch. In “Competitive Federalism and the Legislative Incentives to Recognize […] Read More »