Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Mental Health Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization

Author(s): Shuai Chen and Jan C. van Ours

Publication Date: January 2021

Keyword(s): mental health, Same-sex marriage and Sexual minorities

Programme Area(s): Labour Economics

Abstract: Sexual minorities have had worse than average mental health, which may have to do with actual or perceived discrimination. Same-sex marriage legalization (SSML) is a typical anti-discrimination policy removing marital restrictions for sexual minorities. We study how this legislation affected mental health of sexual minorities in the Netherlands. Conducting a difference-in-differences analysis, we compare changes in mental health following the legalization between sexual minorities and heterosexuals. We fi nd that SSML improved mental health of both married and non-married sexual minorities, which implies that marriage is not the only channel. Examinations of alternative mechanisms combined with literature suggest that the legislation may also take effect by improving societal tolerance as well as stabilizing partnerships and enriching the choice basket of partnership forms for sexual minorities.

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Bibliographic Reference

Chen, S and van Ours, J. 2021. 'Mental Health Effects of Same-Sex Marriage Legalization'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.