Dissertation Abstracts

Hedged Out: The Reproduction of Elite Structures in Finance

Author: Megan Tobias Neely, mtneely@stanford.edu
Department: Sociology
University: University of Texas at Austin, United States
Supervisor: Christine Williams
Year of completion: 2017
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Gender , Race , Inequality , Organizations
Areas of Research: Social Classes and Social Movements , Work , Economy and Society

Abstract

This dissertation is a study of how and why the “1 percent” remains a bastion of male domination. My focus is the hedge fund industry, a case study of the top earners. Women and minority men are drastically underrepresented in this industry, which is consistent with other high-paying professions. For this research, I conducted in-depth interviews with 45 hedge fund workers and field observations at over 30 workplaces and industry events over a 4-year period in Texas and New York. I find that gender and race, as systems of inequality, allow for the concentration of economic resources among financial elites in this industry. An ideology of masculinity legitimizes and organizes relationships among elite white men that largely restrict women and minority men from accessing the benefits of working in a highly lucrative industry. This helps to explain how the “old boys’ club” that dominates the upper echelons of finance becomes established and persists over time. My research demonstrates how the rising income and wealth gap is directly tied to gender and race inequality.

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