Why Do Some Occupations Pay More than Others? Social Closure and Earnings Inequality in the United States1

  title={Why Do Some Occupations Pay More than Others? Social Closure and Earnings Inequality in the United States1},
  author={Kim A. Weeden},
  journal={American Journal of Sociology},
  pages={55 - 101}
  • Kim A. Weeden
  • Published 1 July 2002
  • Economics
  • American Journal of Sociology
This article elaborates and evaluates the neo‐Weberian notion of social closure to investigate positional inequality in the United States. It argues that social and legal barriers around occupations raise the rewards of their members by restricting the labor supply, enhancing diffuse demand, channeling demand, or signaling a particular quality of service. Hypotheses derived from the closure perspective are evaluated using new data that map five institutionalized closure devices—licensing… 
Equality for Whom? Organizational Policies and the Gender Gap across the German Earnings Distribution
Work establishments are critical for the creation and maintenance of gender inequality. Organizational practices, most notably those that formalize personnel systems or target gender inequality, are
Occupational Closure and Wage Inequality: How Occupational Closure Effects Vary Between Workers
Occupational closure continuously establishes, contests, or reinforces institutional boundaries around occupations. Occupational closure thereby interferes with wage-setting processes in the labor
Occupational Closure and Wage Inequality in Germany and the United Kingdom
Rent-based accounts of inequality argue that institutionalized barriers to the access to labour market positions create artificial restrictions on the supply of labour and, in turn, generate wages
Educational Credentials and Intra-Occupational Inequality: Evidence from Law Firm Dissolutions.
This study examines how the matching of individuals and employers based on educational credentials contributes to intra-occupational inequality. Treating six U.S. law firm dissolutions as mobility
Economic returns to occupational closure in the German skilled trades.
  • T. Bol
  • Economics, Medicine
    Social science research
  • 2014
The Sheltering Effect of Occupational Closure? Consequences for Ethnic Minorities’ Earnings
It is argued that occupational closures reduce within-occupation wage inequality, as both occupational licensing and union density strongly reduce immigrant-majority earnings’ inequality, but neither certifications nor credentialization reduces the immigrant- majority earnings gap.
Abstract This paper tests whether employers responded particularly negatively to African American job applicants during the deep U.S. recession that began in 2007. Theories of labor queuing and
Class, Occupation, Wages, and Skills: The Iron Law of Labor Market Inequality
Economic inequality in contemporary advanced societies is strongly tied to the variation in wages across occupations. We examine the extent to which this variation is captured by social class and


Some Evidence on Occupational Licensing and Occupational Incomes
To the extent an occupation is professionalized, occupational income tends to be independent of acrossstate variations in median income and weak support for the argument that public representation on licensing boards tends to reduce occupational incomes is found.
For What It's Worth: Organizations, Occupations, and the Value of Work Done by Women and Nonwhites
Economic penalties against jobs employing disproportionate numbers of women or nonwhites vary across organizational context and occupational type. Analyses of prescribed pay rates for jobs in the
4. Socioeconomic Indexes for Occupations: A Review, Update, and Critique
It is concluded that composite indexes of occupational socioeconomic status are scientifically obsolete because they give too much weight to occupational earnings, and they ignore intergenerational relationships between occupational education and occupational earnings.
Returns to Skill, Compensating Differentials, and Gender Bias: Effects of Occupational Characteristics on the Wages of White Women and Men
A regression model with fixed-effects and national individual-level panel0 data (1966-81) is used to decompose the sex gap in pay. In accordance with neoclassical predictions from human capital
Class, Occupation, and Inequality in Job Rewards
This paper argues that within an economic system class and occupation are conceptually distinct positions. Class refers to control by some positions over others in a production system, and occupation
The Sociology of Work and Occupations
I review recent studies of work and occupations. Most of this work proceeds at the individual level, studying individual characteristics of workers, qualities of the work experience, and, to a lesser
The gender gap in earnings at career entry
We propose a new approach to analyzing gender differences in wages. This approach identifies several alternative explanatory mechanisms to account for the sorting of women and men into different
The Gender Gap in Earnings
The gender income gap is a much debated subject both at an analytical and economic level. This article considers both, but emphasizes the different ways the data can be analyzed. The authors show
This essay reviews recent theory and research on organizations and social stratification, focusing on two dimensions of inequality that are affected by organizations and their environments: (a) how
The substantial body of sociological research on earnings that has accumulated in recent years begins with the assumption that neoclassical economic analyses of earnings are inadequate because they