395 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Holly Nguyen is an Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University, Department of Sociology and Criminology. Her research interests can be categorized under the broad umbrella of “employment and crime”, with employment loosely defined as any activity (legal, informal, illegal) that generates income. She draws from several disciplines including criminology, sociology, and economics to inform her research.
Equal Pay for Equal Work? Considering the Gender Gap in Illegal Pay
Over the past several decades, substantial attention has been paid to the persistence of the gender pay gap with scholars applying innovative approaches to help understand its sources. Despite extensive theorizing, little empirical attention has been paid to whether a parallel exists in illegal markets. Guided by the literature on the legal pay gap, the gendered nature of offending, and illegal earnings, we ask: Do females who turn to economic crime face stratification and inequality in the criminal world? If there is a gender gap, what factors contribute to differences in pay? We use five data sources to establish the existence of a relatively persistent gap. We then use the Delaware Decision Making Study to unpack the gender gap in illegal pay with the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition technique and find that gender pay gap is partly explained by criminal analogs – criminal capital and psychosocial attributes – to explanations for the legal pay gap. Race also emerges as an important determinant of the returns to crime. Our findings highlight that the disadvantage women face in the legal workforce extends to illegal markets and that explanations for the legal pay gap can be translated to criminal contexts.