GLO directed special issue of the International Journal of Manpower on: “Sexual Orientation and the Labor Market”

REMINDER: Call for papers for a special issue of the International Journal of Manpower  on: “Sexual Orientation and the Labor Market

Submissions will be accepted from now on until March 30, 2019. See also Call for Papers of the Journal.

Edited by

Nick Drydakis (Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge, IZA, and GLO) and Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, CEPR and GLO)

An initiative of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), this project is related to the GLO Thematic Cluster on “Gender, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Labor Market Outcomes” headed by Nick Drydakis.

Despite the enactment, in English speaking countries and the EU, of labor legislation against discrimination in the labor market based on sexual orientation, LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) people continue to experience occupational access constraints, lower job satisfaction, wage discrimination (especially gay men), and more bullying and harassment than their heterosexual counterparts (Drydakis, 2014; Valfort, 2017).

Studies for the period 1989–2014 suggest that gay men receive lower wages than heterosexual men of comparable education, skills, and experience. For instance, studies find that gay men earn from 4–5% less than heterosexual men in the Netherlands, France, Greece, and the UK and up to 12–16% less in Canada, Sweden, and the US (Drydakis, 2014). Whether wage discrimination against gay men exists in other regions is of great interest and ascertaining this is of importance for policy interventions. In addition, whether wage discrimination lessens over time in response to policy interventions and legislation is hard to determine in the absence of relevant studies. It is not yet clear whether prejudice-based and/or statistical discrimination is the more appropriate framework for the study of labor discrimination against LGBTI people.

The available studies on sexual orientation and job satisfaction highlight that in Australia, Canada, and Greece, both gay men and lesbians experience lower job satisfaction than do their otherwise similar heterosexual counterparts (Drydakis, 2014). Because gay and lesbian employees face severe workplace harassment and bullying, these conditions may affect their workplace experience evaluations (Drydakis, 2014). Whether factors other than workplace harassment cause gay and lesbian employees’ dissatisfaction requires examination. Also, for instituting appropriate policy actions, it is important to determine whether these job satisfaction differences suffered by sexual orientation minorities exist in other countries.

In general, the dearth of studies makes it difficult to examine how education, occupation, industrial relations, region, core socio-economic characteristics, personality and mental health traits moderate the relationship between sexual orientation and labor market outcomes (Drydakis, 2014). Indeed, although studies suggest that lesbians face prejudice in the labor market, some studies estimate that lesbians earn more than comparable heterosexual women. Lesbians have been found to earn 3% more in the Netherlands, 8% more in the UK, 11% more in Germany, 15% more in Canada, and 20% more in the US. Whether personality characteristics, coping strategies, occupational choices, family structures and/or region positively affect lesbians’ wages is still an open question.

In addition, quantitative research on employment outcomes is scarce for trans people (Drydakis, 2017). A representative study suggests that trans people tend to suffer higher unemployment rates than those reported, in other studies, for the general U.S. population (Leppel, 2016). In addition, the interaction between trans identity, and sexual orientation, and the effects of this on employment outcomes is under-examined (Drydakis, 2017). Whether explicit, legislative employment protection against discrimination on the ground of a trans identity has an effect on employment outcomes has also received little attention (Drydakis, 2017).

Given the aforementioned lack of sufficient literature, the editors welcome empirical papers on labor economics which have a clear and highlighted added value, and solid policy implications, on the following general areas:

  • Testing, in under-examined geographical regions, for wage discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Empirically testing and disentangling the forms of employment discrimination (i.e. prejudice-based, and/or statistical discrimination) against LGBTI people.
  • Examining the relationship between sexual orientation, personality characteristics, mental health and employment outcomes.
  • Assessing how moderators (i.e. human capital, educational choices, occupations, family structure, industrial relations etc.) affect the relationship between sexual orientation and labor market outcomes.
  • Testing the relationship between sexual orientation, past/present victimization and labor market outcomes.
  • Quantifying the relationship between sexual orientation and job satisfaction.
  • Evaluating the impact of the legal recognition of same-sex couples on labor market outcomes.
  • Evaluating the impact of employment legislation against sexual orientation and trans identity discrimination on labor market outcomes.
  • Quantifying employment bias against trans people.
  • Examining the interaction between trans identities, sexual orientation and labor market outcomes.

Submissions will be accepted from now on until the 30th of March 2019. They should be made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system: Before submission, please verify that you have carefully read the Author guidelines of the Journal. While making your submission, please specify the title of the current call for papers. See also the forthcoming call on the journal website.

Nick Drydakis (Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge, IZA and GLO)

Image result for Nick Drydakis pictures

and Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, CEPR and GLO)


Drydakis N. (2014). Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes. IZA World of Labor: 111. DOI: 10.15185/izawol.111

Drydakis N. (2017). Trans people, well-being, and labor market outcomes. IZA World of Labor: 386. DOI: 10.15185/izawol.386

Leppel, K. (2016). The labor force status of transgender men and women. International Journal of Transgenderism,  Vol. 17, No. (3−4), pp. 155−164.

Patacchini, E.; Ragusa, G.; Zenou, Y. (2015)
Unexplored dimensions of discrimination in Europe: homosexuality and physical appearance, Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 28, pp. 1045-1073.

Valfort, M. (2017). LGBTI in OECD countries: A review. OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 198, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: 10.1787/d5d49711-en