As a Canadian I am baffled by the fact that a country like the US, with its culture of civil rights, has no federal law to prevent men and women working in the private sector from losing their jobs because of their sexual orientation. As an economist, however, the arrangement that some states protect LGBT workers from discrimination, and others do not, provides a natural experiment that helps us understand how these laws affect the working lives of LGBT people by comparing the labor market experiences of similar workers between states. It’s a rare chance to test if anti-discrimination laws actually make a difference.
Month: May 2011
Apparently, I am the only person not surprised by the alleged events that took place in Sofitel Hotel in New York City that lead to Dominique Strauss Kahn’s arrest. My lack of surprise has nothing to do with the man in question, but rather stems from my time, as a teenager, working as a chamber maid in a major Toronto hotel. During this period I gained intimate knowledge of the behavior of international travellers in hotels; especially that of powerful, and somewhat entitled, men toward the often vulnerable women working the hotel floors.
A couple of years ago a published paper reported that girls who lost their virginity early were less likely to finish high school. The authors claimed that the only plausible explanation was that early debut into sexuality was psychologically harmful for girls and that this harm prevented these girls from graduating. This had to make the folks who wrote the US Federal guidelines for abstinence only education happy given that the requirement that students in an abstinence-only program be taught that “sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects” was woefully lacking in any scientific support.
When I moved to Halifax Nova Scotia, where I live now, I was told that people in the Maritimes were happy to set their friends up for love and romance. This was good news to me since, like many other people, I have always thought that the best way to meet someone is through friends and family. My observation is that in general there has been a marked decline in the willingness to help “find someone” for friends and, to my chagrin, living in the Maritimes for the past seven years has shown me that this is just as true here as it is everywhere else.
Try this as an exercise. Give yourself an honest score on a scale of one to ten that represents where you believe you sit in the distribution of physical appearance for your gender. So, for example, if you feel you are better looking than 70% of all men/women but not as good looking as the top 30% then you perceive yourself to be a 7. Now go onto an online dating site and do a search for people the same gender and age as yourself and take a look at the pictures of people who advertising themselves on that market. My guess is that if you look at 30 or more pictures and try to place yourself in that distribution in terms of physical appearance you will find that you had initially placed yourself much higher than you would have on this particular market.
I was in Catholic community center today for a sporting event when a brightly colored poster on a bulletin board caught my eye. The picture was of a parachutist falling gently toward the earth and the caption read “Would he do it if he knew his gear would fail to protect him from injury or death 1 out of 5 times? Why trust a condom to save your life?”
Porn stars aren’t paid nearly as well as mainstream celebrities—even the most famous ones. Given the size and stigma of the market, one would expect porn salaries to be higher to encourage actors to enter that market. As it turns out, this discrepancy has little to do with the way the porn industry operates and everything do with monopolies created by copyright protection.