Senior Research Specialist Santiago Deambrosi presents as part of AEA's Economics of LGBTQ+ Individuals Virtual Seminar Series on November 9th at 12:00 ET.
The effects of anti-LGBTQ+ curriculums: Evidence from Utah's 'no promo homo' repeal
Extensive qualitative research identifies anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum laws (commonly referred to as 'no promo homo' laws) as obstacles to improved school climate. However, due to the systemic lack of data on this demographic, there are no quantitative assessments on the effects of these policies. I exploit rarely-used CDC data and recent innovations on the Synthetic Control Method to study the impact of Utah's 2017 'no promo homo' repeal on a range of outcomes that these policies specifically target, including: instruction of HIV and sexuality, teacher training, the presence of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA's), and school practices related to LGBTQ+ well-being. I also study the impact on teen suicide rates. Most remarkably, I find that the 'no promo homo' repeal closed the gap between Utah and the national average in terms of GSA presence. Based on the findings, I argue that simply repealing ‘no promo homo’ laws might be insufficient to combat decades-long anti-queer school practices—and that these repeals might be more effective accompanied by laws that proactively seek to tackle remaining barriers.