Badgett, M.V. Lee 1960- (Mary Virginia Lee Badgett)

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Badgett, M.V. Lee 1960- (Mary Virginia Lee Badgett)


Born 1960, in NC. Education: University of Chicago, B.A. (with honors), 1982; University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D., 1990. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, playing guitar, soccer.


Office—Department of Economics, Thompson Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail—[email protected]


U.S. Department of Labor, research analyst for the National Commission for Employment Policy, 1994; Yale University, New Haven, CT, visiting assistant professor, 1995-96; University of Maryland, College Park, assistant professor of public affairs, 1990-97; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, assistant professor, 1997-2001, associate professor of economics, 2001—, and faculty member for university's Center for Public Policy and Administration. Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, visiting researcher, 2003-04; Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, visiting scholar, 2005-06, and research director.


Wayne F. Placek Award, American Psychological Foundation, 1995, for "The Impact of Attitudes on Lesbian and Gay Male Earnings and Occupations," and 2002, for "Health Insurance Inequality and Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People"; Nonprofit Sector Research Fund award, Aspen Institute, 1996, for "Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Giving and Volunteering"; named one of "Our Best and Brightest Activists," Advocate magazine, 1998; Lilly fellowship, Center for Teaching, University of Massachusetts, 1999-2000; College Outstanding Teacher Award, Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts, 2000-01; named a member of the "Out 100," Out magazine, 2001.


Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.

(Editor, with Jefferson Frank) Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective, Routledge (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Understanding American Economic Decline, edited by David Adler and Michael Bernstein, Cambridge University Press, 1994; Economic Perspectives on Affirmative Action, edited by Margaret C. Simms, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Lanham, MD), 1995; Queer Studies: A Multicultural Anthology, edited by Mickey Eliason and Brett Beemyn, New York University Press, 1996; Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader, edited by Cathy J. Cohen, Kathleen B. Jones, and Joan C. Tronto, New York University Press, 1997; Gender and Political Economy: Incorporating Diversity into Theory and Policy, edited by Ellen Mutari, Heather Boushey, and William Fraher, M.E. Sharpe, 1997; Homo Economics: Capitalism, Community, and Lesbian and Gay Life, edited by Amy Gluckman and Betsy Reed, Routledge, 1997; Civil Rights and Race Relations in the Post Reagan-Bush Era, edited by Samuel L. Myers, Praeger, 1997; Identity/Space/ Power: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Politics, edited by Mark Blasius, Princeton University Press, 2000; and Squaring Up: Policy Strategies to Raise Women's Incomes in the United States, University of Michigan Press, 2001. Contributor to journals and newspapers, including Industrial Relations, National Tax Journal, International Labour Review, Feminist Economics, Feminist Studies, and Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services.


Economics professor M.V. Lee Badgett's research and writings have focused on the economic aspects of gay and lesbian life. She occupies a distinctive place among academic researchers, reported D.W. Miller and Jennifer K. Ruark in the Chronicle of Higher Education: "Badgett is one of very few authorities on gay people and economics."

Badgett's first book, Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men, challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the financial status of gay people. This includes the beliefs that gays and lesbians have more disposable income than do heterosexuals, that they spend recklessly, and that they can protect themselves from workplace discrimination by concealing their sexual identity. Some opponents of the gay rights movement have used these beliefs to argue that gays are not an oppressed minority in need of protection from discrimination. Badgett, though, makes a case that these notions are fallacious. She says the idea that gays and lesbians have more disposable income because they do not have children is often false, as many gay couples and singles now have children through adoption, fertility technologies, or previous heterosexual relationships. She uses statistics to demonstrate that gays and lesbians actually earn less than heterosexuals, and notes that gays often lack access to a partner's health insurance and other benefits available to straight spouses. She discusses the negative effects of hiding one's sexual orientation and suggests ways to end discrimination against gay people.

Some critics found Money, Myths, and Change to be solidly researched and convincing. "It is an engaging and highly readable work, which effectively discredits many of the economic myths surrounding gays and lesbians," related Kristen Davis in the journal Traffic. Richard Labonte, writing in the Lambda Book Report, remarked that Badgett had refuted the assumption that "queers all got moolah." Women's Review of Books contributor Nancy Ordover, however, thought Badgett focused excessively on middle-class, coupled gays and lesbians, ignoring those considered less mainstream, such as gay people who "simply cannot pass for straight." Ordover also criticized Badgett as veering away from economics and into such areas as "psychology, anthropology and, most troubling, sociobiology." Davis, though, found Badgett "able to cover many diverse and complex issues which impact on gay and lesbian standards of living, financial and family decisions, and professional lives." Library Journal reviewer Debra Moore deemed the work "well-researched and timely," while Labonte pronounced it "exhaustive, persuasive and essential."



Lambda Book Report, October, 2001, Richard Labonte, review of Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men, p. 31.

Library Journal, August, 2001, Debra Moore, review of Money, Myths, and Change, p. 141.

Traffic, January, 2005, Kristen Davis, "Costs of the Closet," p. 201.

Women's Review of Books, February, 2002, Nancy Ordover, "Assimilation and Its Discontents," p. 28.


M.V. Lee Badgett Home Page,˜lbadgett (March 23, 2007).

University of Massachusetts, Department of Economics Web site, (March 23, 2007), brief biography.

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Badgett, M.V. Lee 1960- (Mary Virginia Lee Badgett)

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