M. V. Lee Badgett

Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Chapter Member: Boston SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About M.

Badgett is a labor economist and policy analyst focusing on issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. She was the first economist to debunk the myth that gay people are an affluent elite. Her current research focuses on poverty in the LGBT community, employment discrimination against LGBT people, and the cost of homophobia and transphobia in global economies. She was an expert witness in many marriage equality cases, including the Prop 8 case in California, and she has testified before Congress and several state legislatures. Badgett directed the School of Public Policy at UMass Amherst and was the first research director at UCLA’s Williams Institute, where she is a senior scholar. She has served as a consultant to the World Bank and UNDP, and she has spoken before many international audiences on the economic cost of LGBT exclusion and on marriage equality. 


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In the News

M. V. Lee Badgett's research on economic and health effects of discrimination discussed by Vidhi Doshi, "Gay Activists in India Push Top Court to End Ban on Homosexuality — in Part for the Economy’s Sake," The Washington Post, July 25, 2018.
M. V. Lee Badgett's research on LGBT discrimination discussed by Diane Lederman, "More LGBT People Filing Discrimination Complaints Since Expansion of Civil Rights Coverage, UMass Researchers Find," Masslive, July 19, 2018.
"Same-Sex Marriage Will Fuel Economy," M. V. Lee Badgett, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 22, 2015.
"The New Case for LGBT Rights: Economics," M. V. Lee Badgett, Time, November 25, 2014.
M. V. Lee Badgett's research on how equal treatment for gays and lesbians can benefit economies discussed by Jeanna Smialek, "Gay Myths Derailed by Economist Badgett’s Data Research," Bloomberg, June 20, 2014.
"What Obama Should Do about Workplace Discrimination," M. V. Lee Badgett, New York Times, February 26, 2012.


"The Economic Cost of Stigma and the Exclusion of LGBT People: A Case Study of India," World Bank Group, 2014.

Presents a method to calculate the economic impact of employment discrimination and health disparities for LGBT people on the Indian economy. 

"The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: An Analysis of Emerging Economies," (with Sheila Nezhad, Kees Waaldijk, and Yana Rodgers), USAID and Williams Institute, 2014.

Shows that countries with laws that support LGBT equality tend to have higher GDP per capita than less supportive countries.  

"New Patterns of Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community," (with Laura Durso and Alyssa Schneebaum), Williams Institute, 2013.

Presents evidence that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are at least as likely to be poor as heterosexual people, and that African American LGB people and same-sex couples raising children are more likely to be poor than their heterosexual counterparts.