The University of Massachusetts Amherst

M.V. Lee Badgett

headshot of Lee Badgett
Professor of Economics


102 Gordon Hall

M. V. Lee Badgett is a professor of economics and served as director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration (now the School of Public Policy) from 2007-16. She is also a faculty codirector of the Center for Employment Equity at UMass Amherst and a distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at UCLA’s School of Law. Her most recent book, The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: How Fairness and Equality Benefit Us All, was published in 2020 by Beacon.  

Badgett’s book When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage addresses the core issues in marriage debates in European countries and the US She drew on that work in her testimony in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial challenging California’s Proposition 8. Her other publications include journal articles and policy reports on employment discrimination, poverty, and marriage equality for LGBT people and on the economic cost of homophobia and transphobia. Her earlier books include The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World and Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men and the coedited Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective. She also recently worked with the United Nations Development Program to develop the global LGBTI Inclusion Index and is a technical advisor to the World Bank. 

She has a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an AB in economics from the University of Chicago.

Research interests: 

labor economics, employment discrimination, economics of sexual orientation and gender identity, economic empowerment