The Differential Valuation of Women's Work: A New Look at the Gender Gap in Lawyers' Incomes
Social Forces, Vol. 88, No. 2, p. 819-864, December 2009
47 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010 Last revised: 18 Mar 2010
Date Written: February 12, 2010
This article seeks to identify the mechanisms underlying the gender wage gap among new lawyers. Relying on nationally representative data to examine the salaries of lawyers working fulltime in private practice, we find a gender gap of about 5 percent. Identifying four mechanisms - work profiles, opportunity paths and structures, credentials, and legal markets - we first estimate how much of the gap stems from the differential valuation of women’s endowments; second, we estimate the effects of different endowments for men and women; and third we assess both these possibilities. The analyses indicate that none of these mechanisms can fully accunt for the gender gap. Experimental studies that indicate women’s work is less valued and rewarded than men’s suggest new directions for research on gendered compensation.
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