Anne E. Lincoln, PhD

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX

Economic Sociology

In my research, I enjoy tackling interesting questions which are related to labor market processes in the United States. In particular, I apply sociological perspectives to economic phenomena.

Typically in economic analysis, worker’s own characteristics are used to explain their earnings, job placement, and other market outcomes. In economic sociology, new independent variables are added to the analysis which, at the micro level, position individuals relative to others in groups and networks, or at the meso level, situate firms in a social structure of other organizations and markets.

Microeconomic Processes: Labor Market Outcomes
One intriguing finding by labor economists is that married men earn more than men who have never been married. Economists and sociologists call this the "marital wage premium." In the past, the "family wage system" was a legal business practice to pay married men more than unmarried men because they had a wife and family to support. Today, economists offer one explanation that married men are more productive in paid labor because their wives provide support by taking on household work. Using nationally-representative data, I found no evidence to support this hypothesis for men or women who are employed full-time, the persons who would be most likely to benefit from a spouse's support at home. This leaves open the door to several explanations - that employers still (illegally) discriminate in favor of married men, that men who are generally more productive opt into marriage, and that men change their behavior after marriage.

Lincoln, Anne E. 2008. Gender, Productivity, and the Marital Wage Premium. Journal of Marriage and Family 70:806-814

Mesoeconomic Processes: Supply and Demand for Labor
The sex composition of occupations is a core issue in the study of gender inequality because it accounts for much of the wage gap that exists between women and men. Consequently, when occupations feminize, they draw particular attention. Change emphasizes the worker-job matching process that is otherwise obscured in occupations with stable sex compositions. Why, then, do some occupations "feminize?" I studied veterinary medicine to find out. Most previous research has only been able to hypothesize about the feminization process; without data on applicants, it has been impossible to determine whether there are differences in the way that men and women act on their human capital and “supply” themselves to occupations or college majors. Using 21 years of data on applicants to US veterinary programs, I tested supply- and demand-side feminization mechanisms. My work demonstrates that men and women generally respond similarly to economic and social influences, but that the feminization of veterinary medicine is driven by two social factors: the growth in female college graduates relative to men since the 1970s, which reduced the pool of men qualified to proceed to graduate school, and men’s increasing avoidance of the feminizing classes.

Lincoln, Anne E. 2010. The Shifting Supply of Women and Men to Occupations: Feminization in Veterinary Education. Forthcoming in Social Forces.

Economic Sociology
Science Careers
Curriculum Vitae