Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Williams Institute

Other Recent Work bannerUCLA

Do Gay Rights Laws Matter?: An Empirical Assessment


The purpose of this Article is to provide an empirical analysis of that presumption. The method I use has three steps. First, I place the actual number of filed sexual orientation complaints in the context of the total number of gay people in the workforce. If fifty workers file sexual orientation discrimination complaints, it is important to know whether those are fifty workers out of a total of 500 or 500,000 gay workers in the workforce. By expressing the number of gay complaints in terms of the presence of gay people in the workforce, I produce a measure of the prevalence of complaint-filing by gay workers, or a population-adjusted complaint rate (“PACR”). Second, I apply the same methodology to claims of race and sex discrimination in the same states for the same years. By expressing the actual number of claims filed by minorities and women as a percentage of their prevalence in the workforce, I generate populationadjusted complaint rates for these forms of discrimination as well. Finally, I compare the rate of complaint filing by gay workers with that of other protected groups. This places the number of sexual orientation complaints in some cross-category perspective.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View