The University of Texas at Austin
  • You must have JavaScript enabled and the Flash 8 plugin installed to view this content.

    Get Adobe Flash Player
    Consult your browser's help file for instructions to enable JavaScript.

    Policy & Law

    The economics of Prop 8

    By Mason Jones
    Published: March 10, 2011

    Economics Professor Daniel Hamermesh was an expert witness for the legal team challenging California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state.

    In this video Hamermesh discusses the connection between economics and the same-sex marriage debate.

    • Quote 2
      Lexie Rafael said on Oct. 4, 2011 at 9:10 a.m.
      Im all up for same sex marriage! The professor is definitely right in arguing how much do we save by not allowing gays and lesbians to marry? He presents a great argument and is a great use of space in this world. What is the government preventing from not allowinopg this? I also agree with his proposition that someday the people making these decisions would eventually vote to getting rid of our rights to give our opinions on this.
    • Quote 2
      Kyle said on April 1, 2011 at 3:47 p.m.
      I think the fertility argument cant be proven. The Netherlands has a high Arab/North African population -who are known for their high fertility rates- compared to other Scandinavian countries. This is probably the main contributor to fertility in the Netherlands NOT the legalizing of same-sex marriage.
    • Quote 2
      aaron said on March 30, 2011 at 10:58 p.m.
      @ Ryan, I think it would be irresponsible to ignore a situation such as prop 8. Eventually this will go national. And eventually the US will legalize gay marriage. Grow up and get over it the rest of the modern world has. Stop making the US look like an immature kid stopping his feet.
    • Quote 2
      MR said on March 30, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.
      Sorry forgot to mention I am also confused as to why the university should not publicize disputes on homosexuality. Considering the gay student population not to mention staff members, it seems that it is very relevant and important for the university to be willing to discuss these issues.
    • Quote 2
      MR said on March 30, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.
      I am a little confused by comments. Sure we COULD legalize all that stuff, but what makes legalizing, say, drugs or prostitution more desirable than gay marriage? Also, simply because marriage has been historically defined as between a man and a woman, doesn't mean it can't change. Plenty of social definitions have change over time, why be resistant to this one? Perhaps I'm just not getting something.
    • Quote 2
      Ryan said on March 27, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.
      It is irresponsible for the University to publicize legal disputes about homosexuality.
    • Quote 2
      Hung said on March 26, 2011 at 11:10 p.m.
      Hey B: I like how you make up your own equations and defining your own variables. If you ever do write an economics book, I'll be the first to buy. Lol. That being said, I think your credibility as a "economics major" holds no value by the multiple fallacies you have committed in your argument. Sincerely, Hung
    • Quote 2
      sk said on March 26, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
      B : if marriage implies children then not having children implies not being married. This is not true, thus a contradiction. Also, marriage between an impotent man and woman would satisfy your first condition man X woman = marriage, but contradict the later. Thus, a contradiction. Your argument is weak. A little math goes a long way. Marriage is a term defined historically between a man and woman.
    • Quote 2
      S said on March 25, 2011 at 6:56 p.m.
      @ Hammermesh and supporters of this cause: I have an idea that could reap more economic benefits than this gay marriage thing. Legalize marijuana, prostitution, betting, ending the fed, busting the unions etc. How was that? Nah, that goes against liberal agendas...doesn't it?
    • Quote 2
      S said on March 25, 2011 at 6:49 p.m.
      @ Megan: Then there's also an obligation by those who support equal rights etc, that if I want to have sex or marry my pet dog, cat, horse etc then I should be allowed that. I should have tax benefits and plenty of other things that you propose for gay rights. And regarding consent, my pet dog, cat and horse give tacit consent when I have sex with them. Hail the LIBERALS!!!!
    • Quote 2
      The Truth said on March 25, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
      Okay, to lay this to rest I ask that every one keep an open mind to rational argument and not revert to emotional digression when thinking of this issue. The definition of marriage is absolutely NOT arbitrary, as M puts it. According to Megan, marriage is "union or legal contract between individuals that creates kinship" By that rational, any individual should be able to enter into this "union" - man or woman. But, by Megan's definition, there is no limit on how many people can enter into the same union - why only two? If a man, and a man, and a woman want to enter this "union" what's wrong with that? Therefore, by that definition, polygamy should be legal also. Definitions are never arbitrary. The current definition of marriage, however, violates no equal rights issue. Marriage is a "union between one man and one woman." There is no mention of love, or want, or anything else besides A union, A man, and A woman. In order to violate equal rights, there must be some discrimination with in the law that singles out one group. This definiton does not. Gay and lesbians have the same rights as everyone else to marry A man if you are a woman, or to marry A woman if you are a man. If everyone had the right to marry who they wanted the world would be a crazy place. Lastly, to Mr. Economist, arbitrarily throwing out numbers does not make them real. There is no way to tell how many gay or lesbian couples would be married that are not in civil unions now. Presumably, if they are in a civil (or domestic) union they live together; if not they are not ready for marriage anyway. If they live together then the "2 can live as cheaply as one and half" without being married. Your argument holds no water. The economic additions you refer to either cannot be determined or should already be in effect. Also, even an economic benefit does exist that is not enough to legally justify it. Selling crack would benefit the economy also. If someone sells crack, they will make more money. then they will spend that money and the economy will boost. If they invest their crack money then the investment capitalist can make money on and spend that which will boost the eceonmy. If they save it the bank will invest it and make money again driving the economy. Crack would benefit the economy, why then does no one propose to legalize that? This country was definitely NOT founded to "relieve the religiously oppressed" as M suggests. This country was founded to relieve the religiously oppressed white protestant male from persecution.
    • Quote 2
      Megan said on March 25, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
      Great article! You're right, Fernando, marriage cannot be changed, and here's what it is. Marriage is a social *union* or legal contract between *individuals* that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Now, who are individuals? People. Who are people? You, me, men and women, children, babies, anyone who is human. Marriage does not have to be between JUST a man and a woman, just between two individuals, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, who are both of legal age to get married, who love eachother, and who want to marry eachother. The people who are rallying for marriage equality and benefits between persons of the same sex would simply like this institution to be recognized, honored, and legalized in US culture just as it currently is between a man and woman. Seriously, what's the big deal? Marriage, a legal union and binding contract between two individuals until death or divorce. It is what is, right? Live and let live, man.
    • Quote 2
      Fernando said on March 24, 2011 at 5:38 p.m.
      2 wrongs, pardon me, 1 wrong and a liberal financial theory do not make a right. Truth is, marriage cannot be changed; it is what it is. Unions...we can talk about it.
    • Quote 2
      M said on March 24, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.
      To B: I think the definition of marriage is arbitrary and who's to say we have to take it from the Bible (separation of church and state); secondly, do you also choose to stigmatize couples with no children, either through choice or fertility problems? Besides, gay couples still have children through artificial insemination and adoption. Prof. Hamermesh was simply trying to make a point that you could look at the issue of same-sex marriage through different perspectives, such as through economics, aside from the religious, anthropological, psychological arguments which are more commonly used. The point is, we need to draw this marriage question away from its religious undertones, because America was not created to promote certain religious values, but rather to relieve the religiously oppressed.
    • Quote 2
      Alfredo said on March 24, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.
      This is for Luis Moreno. I feel that it doesn't matter if a professor is from the bible belt and was an active member in the legal battle against this bill. I have a friend of mine who is in law school, is from the bible belt, and is gay. It is not a big surprise at all. I know a couple of openly gay christian republicans (wow, now that is a surprise, how can you pull that odd combination off?) What is important is seeing same sex marriage at another angle, not just on equal-rights. I felt that same sex marriage could have been a boost for the economy of California. Correct me if I am wrong, but 3 billion in a year is not much, but as the professor said, "it sure is not zero."
    • Quote 2
      B said on March 23, 2011 at 8:09 p.m.
      I do not think that it's bad having an attraction to a guy (if you're a guy) or to a girl (if you're a girl). A good friend of mine is attracted to guys. I still respect him as my good friend! However, I think that by acting on that attraction and going farther with it is wrong and should not be done. Mr. Economist is just using this topic to gain some popularity. Similar to the media, how they place their integrity aside for money or popularity. I for one am an economics major and should be taking one of his classes this fall. I dislike his point of view and will not take any of his classes.
    • Quote 2
      B said on March 23, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
      "Being sure that a marriage works"? What is a "working marriage"? What the freak is marriage then? What is marriage intended for? It's for making babies! For creating a family. How in the heck do you make a marriage work? Let's define marriage by doing a little math mr. economist. Marriage = Man X Woman. Notice that I put a multiplication sign in there. Get it? Multiplying? Man X Woman = children. When the children enter into marriage then come more generations. Like the song goes first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Ok? Think about it. What does Man + Man = ? NOTHING! They produce nothing. It is completely against the laws of nature! How many people would be on this earth if Adam and Eve hadn't had children? 0. Now, having said that, I do not care if others have an orientation towards those of their same sex. It's just that we cannot define this as marriage. Call it what you want, let them have all of the same tax benefits as married people. But let's not call this marriage. It messes things up.
    • Quote 2
      Luis Moreno said on March 22, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.
      I'm glad and surprised that a professor from the "Bible belt" was an active member in assisting the plaintiffs in the fight for equal rights. Thanks for publishing this video, it is very well supported by the professor with this economic argument. I'm not a student but if I'm admitted I'd feel proud that my university is taking an active role in this matter.
    • Quote 2
      UT Freshman said on March 21, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.
      HAMERMESH!!! Best professor ever.
    Share:
    • Digg
    • del.icio.us
    • StumbleUpon
    • Facebook
    • Google Bookmarks
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Print
    • email

    Download: Save as .mp4 | Podcast (iTunes)

    Related Topics

    , , , , , ,

  • Top Videos

    • ...
    Tech and Health: Innovative Devices Aren’t Science Fiction
    Tech and Health: Innovative Devices Aren’t Science Fiction
    From nanomotors to customized prosthetics, check out inventions developed by Cockrell...
    Lifelike Heart Valve Model Will Aid Treatment
    Lifelike Heart Valve Model Will Aid Treatment
    Michael Sacks is developing mitral valve models that will enable heart surgeons to...
    (1:00)
    Dell Med Kickoff Invites Community Input
    Dell Med Kickoff Invites Community Input
    Construction kicked off for the Dell Med School at a ceremony Monday. Leaders, including...
    How Do You Reinvent Health Care?
    How Do You Reinvent Health Care?
    Start by re-imagining medical education, says Dell Med School Dean Clay Johnston....
    Preventing Earthquake Damage
    Preventing Earthquake Damage
    A team of Cockrell School engineers is working in New Zealand to understand soil...
    The Psychology of Home Decor
    The Psychology of Home Decor
    Is your bedroom scattered with laundry? Adorned with photos? Do you and your partner...
    Thirteen rules for school
    Thirteen rules for school
    What do you need to know about your first day of college classes? Get that advice...
    (13:54)
    On citizenship and naturalization
    On citizenship and naturalization
    In this seventh installment of the “Border Views” video series, John...
    (2:10)