Category Archives: Badgett

In Peru, Badgett Addresses Economics of LGBT Discrimination

M.V. Lee Badgett

Lee Badgett

During a trip to Peru from Oct. 12-17, M.V. Lee Badgett, director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, educated diplomats, government officials, working professionals and university students on the potential negative economic consequences of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

While the purpose of Badgett’s talks was largely educational, she said the U.S. Embassy in Lima is considering adopting some new policies that would improve working conditions for LGBT embassy staff.

“It is exciting to consider that my research could have real and direct effects on people’s everyday lives and working conditions,” Badgett said. “Peruvians are actively discussing LGBT issues in many contexts, and I found a lot of interest in what the positive consequences could be for employers and the overall economy.”

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs invited Badgett, and the U.S. embassy organized Badgett’s week of lectures, discussions and meetings. During her time in Lima, Badgett spoke with officials at the embassy; representatives from local nongovernmental organizations working on LGBT issues; as well as with Peruvian government officials, international agencies, businesspeople, an openly gay member of Congress and university students.

Last year, Badgett began examining how discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity affects a country’s economy. She has presented parts of this research at the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and at a forum sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

More than 20 years of research has established Badgett as a leading international expert on the economics of LGBT employment and family policies. In her first book, “Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men,” she debunked the popular stereotype of gay affluence. She has spent the last decade researching the economic impact of marriage equality in the U.S. and abroad.

From Inside UMass, October 23, 2014 / Office of News & Media Relations

Badgett: Marriage equality brings in the money

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration plans to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban in court, without the state’s Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who opposes the ban on ethical grounds. Supporters of marriage equality find another compelling reason besides fairness to institute the policy: money. In New York City, the first year of same-sex marriages brought in $16 million for the City itself and another $259 million for hotels, wedding planners, vendors and other associated businesses. Texas, meanwhile, loses about $60 million per year in same-sex wedding related revenue. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted economics professor and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, M.V. Lee Badgett on the issue. “‘It’s big,'” said Lee Badgett. ‘Many couples who want to get married, it’s a special day, so they spend lots of money. They invite friends and family, and they spend lots of money.'” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/16/13)


Badgett on poverty rate & DOMA’s health care implications for same-sex couples

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett

UMass Amherst professor of economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration M.V. Lee Badgett commented on National Public Radio’s Tell Me More about a new study that finds the poverty rate for same-sex couples is higher than for straight couples. She was also interviewed by Yahoo! Finance regarding DOMA’s health care implications for same-sex couples, which may contribute to the higher-than-average LGBT poverty rate. (Tell Me More, 6/10/13; Yahoo! Finance, 6/11/13).

Badgett in National Spotlight Over Gay Marriage Economic Research

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett, professor of economics, director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, and an international expert on the economics of same-sex marriage, has appeared in several media outlets this week, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard two gay marriage cases.

On Bloomberg Television’s program “Bottom Line,” Badgett spoke about the economics of denying same-sex couples the right to marry. She was also quoted in this Politico article about how marriage laws have a significant impact on health insurance coverage. In addition, this Washington Post piece about taxes and government spending quotes Badgett and refers to a 2009 Williams Institute study that she co-authored.

Badgett: President should end workplace discrimination

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, writes a column in the online New York Times about how President Obama could stop workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation for companies doing business with the federal government by issuing an executive order. She argues that such a move would underline the president’s commitment to non-discrimination and would be a sound business practice for contractors who would see improved production and less workplace strife. (New York Times, 2/6/12)

In the past, executive orders setting standards for contractors have not only put an American ideal of equal opportunity into practice; they have also helped show employers that ending discrimination is good for business. Employers who act out of bias waste valuable training and often pass over the best person for the job. In the case of gay and transgender workers, workplace discrimination comes with an added cost to employers, leading other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers to fear disclosure and contributing to stress, illness and lower productivity.

Perhaps the most convincing evidence that nondiscrimination policies are good business policy comes from businesses themselves. A recent Williams Institute study of the 50 largest federal contractors and the 50 biggest Fortune 500 companies found that nearly all had policies against sexual orientation discrimination, and almost all said that diversity was good for business. They also described their policies against sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination as a sound business decision, resulting in more productive and loyal employees, more good ideas and a stronger customer base. That means the federal government and American taxpayers get more efficient contractors, whether for designing software applications or supporting troops in Afghanistan.

Requiring federal contractors not to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity lets the American public win twice — as taxpayers and as workers. New research of mine shows that by issuing an executive order, President Obama could cover more than 16 million additional workers against discrimination. Following the legacy of almost every president since World War II and the lead of most of the nation’s top companies, the president should once again put our government on the side of equal opportunity for all.

Badgett: Same-sex couples prefer marriage

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, comments in a story about how studies show that same-sex couples prefer marriage to civil unions and choose marriage at about the same rate as traditional different-sex couples. The report also finds that couples will travel to a state that has marriage rights if they reside in a state that does not. (Bay Windows, 11/9/11)

“We see a lot of evidence that same-sex couples strongly prefer marriage over civil unions or domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples marry at higher rates in the first year they have the option than we see in civil union states, for example,” M.V. Lee Badgett, Research Director of The Williams Institute and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Our findings are consistent with other research showing that couples value marriage more for its social meaning than for its practical benefits.”


Badgett: Study suggests discrimination against gay applicants

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett, economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, comments about a new study that finds a significant amount of discrimination in hiring against openly gay men in some parts of the country. According to Badgett the study, “rules out differences in the gay and heterosexual applicants’ skills and experience by design, so the fact that gay applicants are much less likely to be invited for an interview is hard to explain by anything other than discrimination.” (Bay Area Reporter, 10/13/11)

Badgett on NPR’s Marketplace

M.V. Lee Badgett

M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, comments in a story about how even with the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, same-sex couples are not treated equally because of the federal Defense of Marriage law. She says that law says states don’t have to recognize marriages from other states that allow for same-sex marriage and that the federal government also won’t recognize them. Badgett says that law has to be rescinded by Congress or struck down by the courts before the situation changes. (Marketplace [NPR], 9/30/11) Listen to the audio.

Badgett’s book reviewed in Globe

M.V. Lee Badgett

The book When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, by M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, is reviewed as part of a discussion of how legalized same-sex marriage is gaining respectability and recognition as more states legalize it. The Globe article, “Making the case for gay marriage,” cites Badgett’s findings that legalizing same-sex marriage can benefit society as well as the couple. “The research suggests that legal relationships among gay men in Europe appear to encourage monogamy, resulting in lower rates of HIV and syphilis. Gay couples who marry generally report a feeling of inclusion, which reduces what Badgett calls ‘minority stress.'” (Globe, 7/24/11)

Badgett’s research on same-sex marriage cited in Newsday

M.V. Lee Badgett

A columnist writing in response to the passage of a new law in New York legalizing same-sex marriage says the institution of marriage is evolving. The author cites research done by M.V. Lee Badgett, economics and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, and her book, “When Gay People Get Married.” In researching the book, Badgett found that European countries that legalized same-sex marriage during the past 15 years saw lower divorce rates and higher levels of heterosexual marriage than countries that didn’t legalize it. (Newsday, 6/26/11)