01/10/2007
Dual Life for Equal Labour? Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Greek Labour Market

Dual Life for Equal Labour? Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Greek Labour Market

The current research contributes to the small academic literature on the economics of discrimination according to sexual orientation in Europe.

Authors: Drydakis Nick
Views: 1827

Despite worldwide legal protection impetus sexual orientation discrimination does exist in employment. Evidences suggest that the labour market values gay men’s human capital less than that of straights. Specifically, gay men have repeatedly claimed that they are fired, not hired, or not promoted because of their orientation, while the estimated effects of men’s ′′homosexuality′′ on earnings are found to be negative. As it comes to the latter issue, surveys from the United States, the United Kingdom (Arabsheibani, Mani, and Wadsworth [2004]), and the Netherlands (Plug and Berkhout [2004]) document annual earning penalties associated with same-sex sexual behavior for males, still nonetheless, the estimated penalties significantly vary amongst the surveys and conclusions challenged3. Yet, the systematic study of sexual orientation minorities has made it valuable for both its policy relevance and its potential to inform social scientists about the functioning of labour market.

The current research has taken account of two particular drivers. The first is that no official data and empirical studies exist to investigate gay men’s employment terms in Greece. The second is the significant Eurobarometer’s findings (2007/263), regarding Greeks’ feeling for homosexuality. The survey reveals that the wide majority of Greeks; 0.850 feels that homosexuality is a taboo compared to 0.480 of EU, while the wide majority; 0.840 shares the opinion that it is difficult for gays and lesbians to state their sexual orientation at work, compared to 0.680 of EU. Starting from the mentioned points the scope of the present study is to unbiased investigate whether gay men are facing discriminatory practices in the Greek labour market compared to straights, and by thus to evaluate whether stereotypical misconception against gays4 prejudice the Greek employers’ screening processes, interestingly three years after the national adoption of the European anti-discrimination employment legislation (2005/3304).

In particular, by means of a Correspondence Test (CT), we first aim to detect sexual orientation discrimination at the preliminary stage of the selection process, which for gays seems to be a crucial barrier to the labour market. The reason for the latter being is that selection processes are very often not guided by standards, whilst sometimes the standards themselves might lead to the exclusion of certain members of minority groups from obtaining a specific job (Liegl, Perching and Weyss [2004]). To be specific, a typical CT entails that the researcher sends two -equal in human capital- curriculum vitaes to each advertised job opening (Riach and Rich [2002]). However, the only characteristic that differs between the two applicants is their sexual orientations. Following Adam (1981) and Weichselbaumer (2003), openly gay worker’s sexual orientation is labelled through a reference in his curriculum vitae to a voluntary work at a homosexual community. The methodology implies that the emanated signal is accurate for credibly testing the discrimination hypothesis5. Unequal treatments are then measured by the difference in the number of call backs for interview between the two groups6. Crucially, in the current study we do concentrate on low-skilled groups as they expected to be at more risk for discrimination: Particularly, on non-graduate workers in the private sector (Eurobarometer [2003]; [2007]). While we investigate different sectors, that is, on factors that influences variation in discriminatory behavior across vacancies.

Interestingly, in the current experiment, taking advantage of the telephone callbacks on the part of employers, as well as of the naïve portfolio of the applicants, we have extended the application of the CT technique by also gathering data concerning informal monthly wage offers on the part of employers, in the case of tentative hiring7. We argue that this additional data set enables us to further record discriminatory attitudes across sexual orientations in the ensuing steps of the selection process8. While, by extending the CT methodology we provided unbiased empirical evidence on the equivocally relationship between sexual orientation and earnings. To preview, we find that gay men face a significant probability to be invited for an interview that is by 0.261 less than that of the straights, and an insignificant wage discrimination factor of 0.026 on average. Having controlled for all human capital asymmetries amongst applicants, a taste and/or statistical discrimination imply against gays. In a process to illuminate the outcomes we further show that persons’ sex responsible for applicants’ selection varies: The estimated probability of males to practice occupational access discrimination against gays is by 0.350 higher than that of females. Furthermore, males are found to practice insignificant wage discrimination of 0.032 against gays, while on the other hand, females are found to provide gays with an insignificant wage premium of 0.006 on average. 

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