Raquel Fernandez (NYU), "Coming Out in America: Thirty Years of Cultural Change" (w/ Sahar Parsa and Martina Viarengo)
The last few decades witnessed a dramatic change in public opinion towards gay people. We show that this process was initiated by a sharp increase in the approval of same-sex relationships in 1992-'93, following the debate on whether gay people could serve openly in the military. Using a difference-in-difference empirical strategy, we study the hypothesis that the greater salience of gay-related issues during this period initiated a process of cultural change. We show that greater exposure to the gay population, measured in a variety of ways, led to a greater increase in approval. These results, we demonstrate, cannot be explained by the popular view that the increased acceptance of same-sex relationships reflected expanding liberalism and civil liberties.
Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies.
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