Stratification in the Legal Profession: Sex, Sector, and Salary

Jo Dixon and Carroll Seron

There is a long-standing debate over the role of human and social capital in explaining the gender gap in the earnings of professionals. Expanding on current research on sex differences in the incomes of male and female lawyers, we show how the process of earnings determination varies by sex and organizational sectors differing in sex composition and bureaucratization of decision making. Using data from a random sample of lawyers, we demonstrate that the effects of human and social capital on income vary among males and among females practicing law in private, corporate and government organizational sectors of the legal profession. We also show that there are sex differences in the effects of human social capital on income within these sectors. Together, these findings suggest that stratification processes in the legal profession are based on both sex and organizational segmentation.

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