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Same sex marriage - November 2017

Proposition: "Assuming that the law will be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry in Australia, this will generate net economic benefits for the nation as a whole over the next 10 years."

Collaborator credits: we would like to thank Leonora Risse and Simone Wong for their assistance in framing this poll question and Prof Fabrizio Carmignani for his expert overview of the results.

Overview of poll results by Professor Fabrizio Carmignani

Professor Fabrizio Carmignani

Professor Fabrizio Carmignani

By Fabrizio Carmignani, Professor of Economics, Griffith Business School

In November, just after a clear majority of Australians indicated they were in favour of allowing same sex couples to marry – and before a Private Members Bill was tendered in the House of Representatives – ESA panellists were asked to comment on the following statement: "Assuming that the law will be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry in Australia, this will generate net economic benefits for the nation as a whole over the next 10 years."

Read more

NEP Q24 - Chart 1 (Responses)

NEP Q24 - Chart 2 (Responses weighted)


Responses (30)


 

Peter Abelson

Strongly agree

8

A healthy and inclusive community is more productive than an exclusive one.


 

Garry Barrett

Agree

8


 

Harry Bloch

Strongly agree

8


 

Matthew Butlin

Agree

5


 

Lisa Cameron

Agree

8

There will be economic benefits in terms of a boom in the wedding, and related industries. Also, by providing same sex couples with more certainty and confidence about their futures, the change in law may stimulate additional spending and joint investment on their part. The overall economic impacts are likely to be modest.


 

Bruce Chapman

Disagree

7

I can't see why this will generate net economic benefits. Even if more people decide to marry and this results in a boost for the marriage industry, the switch in expenditure has to come from other areas.


 

Ken Clements

Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

6


 

Deborah Cobb-Clark2

Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

8


 

Lin Crase

Agree

6

Constraints that impinge on individuals' full participation in society necessarily reduce economic welfare. It follows that removal of those constraints should lead to some gains. That said, the change to allow formal recognition of this issue versus the informal workarounds are not likely so different as to generate massive changes on the economic front.


 

Kevin Davis

Strongly disagree

7

There may be more expenditure on weddings etc., but no obvious reason that this would not be at the expense of other consumption expenditures.


 

Brian Dollery

Strongly disagree

9

SSM likely to generate considerable legal costs in terms of conscientious objection. This kind of expenditure would represent DUP outlays with a negative multiplier.


 

Uwe Dulleck

Agree

6

I am not sure whether this will make much of a difference but, if at all, having weddings and the parties that go with them will add to Australia's events and tourism industry. As friends said, lots of couples that do not need to have their weddings somewhere overseas (NZ, Canada ...) but can have them here.


 

Mardi Dungey

Agree

9

When we remove impediments to improving people's ability to satisfy their wants, with no material harm to others, then we improve the welfare of the population, regardless of whether there is measured economic gain in $. I suspect there will be increased dollar expenditure as people who were previously unable to take part in one of life's traditional occasions for celebration take the opportunity to do so.


 

Saul Eslake

Strongly agree

9

There will be some short-term economic benefits from the backlog of wedding celebrations that can take place once the law is changed. But there will also be some long-term, small but nonetheless significant, benefits from improvements in mental health among the LGBTIQ community from the sense of affirmation and acceptance which this result will generate, and perhaps also from a lessening in discrimination against members of this community.


 

Allan Fels

Strongly agree

10


 

Gigi Foster

Agree

9

Apart from the additional wedding expenses and other joint investments on the margin that might not otherwise be spent (joint investments by heterosexual couples are higher in marriages than in co-habitations, and I'd expect the same for homosexual couples), legalising same-sex marriage will allow Australian parliamentarians and the public to move beyond this contentious issue and focus on other things. My answer reflects an optimism that the time and effort freed up after same-sex marriage is legalised will be spent on things that will in fact result in net economic benefits for Australia. Same-sex marriage legalisation may also be seen by some as a tick in the box of "we are all in this together," a message that is good for the collective morale (and hence productivity) of the nation. I see no economic downside to legalising same-sex marriage.


 

Paul Frijters

Disagree

8

I see no reason why it would have any noticeable effect on the economy. I very much doubt we will get much same-sex-marriage tourism out of this.


 

Renee Fry-McKibbin

Disagree

10

The anticipated increase in the number of weddings per year will not be large enough to significantly increase GDP.


 

Lata Gangadharan

Agree

9

More weddings would mean more money being spent locally which should generate net economic benefits.


 

Prue Kerr

Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

9

Why would a social issue such as this require an economic criterion? Perhaps some of the indirect outcomes will be ‘economic’ but these are not relevant to the principle of the issue. Surely economic determinism has some boundaries? Unless the particular question here is ironic?


 

Geoffrey Kingston

Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

5

Don't know. Here's one economic benefit: a Balmain drinking mate of mine who recently became a marriage celebrant should get plenty of extra business.


 

Flavio Menezes

Agree

8

This is about restoring a fundamental human right, and the net economic benefits are a second order consideration.


 

James Morley

Strongly agree

10

It will raise utility for many without actually lowering it for others. This has been seen in other countries that have allowed same-sex marriage.


 

Margaret Nowak

Agree

5

Any net economic benefit stems from the potential for a decline in discrimination within the Australian community. The economic benefits, if this does occur, include reduced health costs, especially in the area of mental health, reduced suicide rates among youth, and reduced discrimination in the workforce, resulting in more optimal allocation of workers and thus marginal boost to productivity. It could also lead to fewer members of the queer community locating overseas to seek a more liberal climate to work, live and marry, thus keeping some of our creative citizens in Australia. However, we cannot be confident of this in the short-term. There has been a very apparent backlash to the outcomes of the survey and some evidence that discrimination will increase for some; the stridency with which a minority characterise the queer community as 'other' will possibly increase short-term disfunction. I hope I am wrong. I do not subscribe to the view that an upsurge in weddings will generate net economic benefits over the medium term.


 

Lionel Page

Disagree

8

I don't see a clear reason why allowing a broader category of people to marry should have a long term impact on the economy. Same sex marriage is a good thing. It is the extension of the freedom to access marriage as an institutional recognition of a loving partnership. It is an added freedom for some which does not impede on the rights of others. It is not clear though that it should have an economic impact. It has been argued that there may be more marriages over the next years. But marriages generate non productive spending, they will substitute to other possible spending or savings. Overall, in all likelihood, the impact of same sex marriage on the economy will be negligible or null. But, saying that does not make the case for same sex marriage weaker. As economists we should be careful not to conform to the demand from the media to find that good policies have necessarily economic benefits. Some policies can be good for non economic reasons.


 

A ABIGAIL PAYNE

Disagree

9


 

Jeffrey Sheen

Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

6

The small boom in marriage celebrant business and maybe later divorce lawyer business won't constitute much in the way of net national economic benefit.


 

Julie Toth

Strongly agree

10

Equality? YES! Benefits? YES! Cherelle Murphy at ANZ estimates the direct economic benefit of this single decision to be at least $650mn.


 

Joaquin Vespignani

Atrongly agree

8

A more inclusive and fair society is expected to generate net benefits for Australia.


 

Beth Webster

Agree

8

The economic effects of legalisation same sex marriage will be to enhance Australia's reputation as a respectful and accepting society. This will further enhance Australia's ability to recruit talented and mobile workers. However, its hard to quantify the size of this effect.