Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heather Antecol

Rights Information

© 2015 Derek M. Ko


Using data from the 2013 American Community Survey, the author examines the wage returns to same-sex parenthood and their role in the sexual orientation wage gap. Specifically, he compares individuals by gender, sexual orientation, and household earner status. The importance of accounting for household specialization among heterosexual men and women is illustrated by the significant differences in returns to parenthood between heterosexuals of the same gender, but different earner statuses. The empirical results show that gay men face a fatherhood penalty for the presence of children between the ages of 5 and 18 irrespective of earner status. Lesbians on the other hand, experience motherhood premiums for the presence of children under the age of 5, but modest motherhood penalties for the presence of children between the ages of 5 and 18. Ultimately, differences in the wage returns to parenthood for gays, lesbians, and their respective heterosexual counterparts play a negligible role in sexual orientation wage differentials.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.