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M.V. Lee Badgett - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

M.V. Lee Badgett

Professor of Economics | University of Massachusetts Amherst


M. V. Lee Badgett is one of the world’s leading experts on the economics of same-sex marriage.

Expertise (5)

Economics of Sexual Orientation and Same-Sex Marriage

Gay Marriage

LGBT Inclusion

Labor Economics

Same-sex Couples


M. V. Lee Badgett is one of the world’s leading experts on the economics of same-sex marriage, and appears frequently in media coverage of gay marriage efforts both domestically and internationally.

She has appeared on National Public Radio, in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other national and international media.

Janet Yellen, former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden administration, called Badgett's 2020 book, "The Economic Case for LGBT Equality, "eye-opening in its global scope .... a must-read for all business leaders and policymakers."

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Education (2)

The University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Economics

The University of Chicago: A.B., Economics

Select Media Coverage (10)

Census Bureau wants to test asking about sexual orientation and gender identity on biggest survey

AP  online


Lee Badgett is quoted in a widely distributed article about a proposal by the U.S. Census Bureau to include test questions about gender identity and sexual orientation on the American Community Survey, which collects data from 3.5 million households each year. Badgett says the data would be useful to researchers. “We can learn about health, economic, housing and other outcomes that might be worse for LGBT people because of the stigma and discrimination that they face, and we can track changes over time to see if laws and policies are leading to more equality,” she says.

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How Anti-LGBT Laws Are Bad for Economies

TIME Magazine  online


Lee Badgett says her research found that anti-LGBT laws and discrimination can cost as much as 1% of a country’s gross domestic product.

LGBTQ rights

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The Corner Closet: Why there are so few gay and transgender executives in corporate America

USA Today  print


Lee Badgett says corporate executives risk bumping up against the “lavender ceiling which keeps gay and transgender employees from jobs for which they qualify and from doing their jobs at the level they are capable of

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Explained: What Is Pink Money And How Powerful Is It

India Times  online


According to a report published by Newsday, when India continued to exclude the LGBTQIA+ minority, it may have been squandering more than $26 billion every year. As per the calculations by Lee Badgett, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who studied the issue for the World Bank, India has lost as much as 1.4 percent of its national output as a result of the discriminatory rule.

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Tourism to jobs: How Chile's same-sex marriage law could lift the economy

Thomson Reuters Foundation  online


But as more countries legalise same-sex weddings, researchers and LGBT+ activists say the economic benefits of marriage equality extend far beyond wedding celebrations and honeymoons, and can give nations an important competitive edge. "Marriage equality is still pretty rare around the world," said MV Lee Badgett, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "It is still something that sends a very powerful signal – and to businesses and tourists that can make a big difference," said Badgett, who has been studying the economic impact of LGBT+ inclusion on countries since the mid-1990s.

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LGBTQ Americans taking bigger economic hit amid pandemic, census data finds

NBC News  online


Economic disparities between LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ people existed long before the pandemic, says M. V. Lee Badgett, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, but have grown more pronounced. A report from the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement and Research, for example, indicated that, in 2019, nearly 1 in 5 (19.8 percent) LGBTQ households were unsure they could pay their bills that month, compared to 14 percent of non-LGBTQ households.

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Counting the economic cost of anti-LGBTQ laws

Al Jazeera  print


"Anti-LGBTQ laws and discrimination are estimated to cost economies as much as one percent of total economic output measured by annual gross domestic product (GDP), according to Lee Badgett, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a senior scholar at the Williams Institute."

article image

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Even with ruling, workplace still unequal for LGBTQ workers

Associated Press  print


"Even with this week’s Supreme Court ruling, the workplace will be far from equal for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Some big employers do allow employees to indicate on their human resources forms that they are LGBTQ, like they do for gender and race, said M.V. Lee Badgett, an economics professor and co-director of the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts Amherst."

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Lee Badgett on the economic case for LGBT equality

Los Angeles Blade  print


Lee Badgett says her new book, 'The Economic Case for LGBT Equality" is an attempt to explain “why it’s a good idea to have full inclusion for LGBT people in our societies — and the economic reasons are a big piece of that ... If countries want to improve economically, “then you have to take a good close look at how well you’re treating LGBT people. And for that matter, other groups that are traditionally disadvantaged, women and people of color. "

Lee Badgett Book

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A Year After a #MeToo Reckoning, Economists Still Grapple With It

The New York Times  


Lee Badgett, co-chair of the American Economic Association's new Committee on the Status of LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Economics Profession, comments on the need for the Association to act in response to revelations of sexism, racism and harassment in the profession.

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Select Publications (3)

Who Is Fighting the Economic Oppression of LGBTQI+ People?

The Advocate

M.V. Lee Badgett


Badgett writes, "The creativity, resourcefulness, and hard work of LGBTI people aren’t new, but the pandemic has made it clear how urgent these strategies are. Economic livelihoods were precarious for LGBTI people throughout the world before COVID arrived, with high poverty rates and discriminatory barriers to jobs."

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The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Benefits Us All (Book)

Beacon Press

M.V. Lee Badgett


UMass Amherst economist Lee Badgett demonstrates how LGBT equality and inclusion within organizations increases their bottom line and allows for countries’ economies to flourish.

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The Connection Between Strong Economies and LGBT Rights Is No Joke

The Advocate

M.V. Lee Badgett, Andrew Flores and Andrew Park


In the past, many governments around the world have seen LGBT rights as a fringe issue. But now LGBT people are getting the world’s attention on core issues of life and death.

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