Gender and Networks of Success: The Case of Classical and Film Composers Restricted; Files & ToC

Park, Ju Hyun (Summer 2020)

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This dissertation examines the gender pay gap and social networks of musical composers to

address how gender still matters in the contemporary economy in which nonstandard work is

growing more common across occupations and industries. Composers can be seen emblematic of

contemporary labor markets in which precarious work abounds in that they have historically

been freelancers and continue to be so in the contemporary economy. Using data from a survey

on American composers in the non-profit ream by the Research Center for Arts and Culture at

Columbia University, my first chapter focuses on pay gaps between men and women composers

and how their social networks play out in practice. Among other things, I find that there is no

gender gap in income earned from composing, but a significant gap in income from all jobs. This

result indicates that men composers are better able to subsidize their composition work than are

women composers, and the social networks of women composers do not offset that difference.

Given the findings of the first chapter, I delve further into how the connections created by

composers and created by intermediary organizations matter for the career success of film and

classical music composers. I do this by analyzing two self-gathered datasets from the Internet

Movie Database (IMDb) and the League of American Orchestras, respectively, covering 2000 to

2009. In my second chapter, I focus on the collaboration network that occurred when filmscoring

composers worked with directors, screenwriters, and other composers on a particular

film. The results of this chapter show that, while having broad and gender-homophilous

connections helps men composers gain future opportunities to score film music, women

composers do not receive the same benefits from their connections. Finally, focusing on the field

of classical music, my third chapter examines the performance network that occurred when

classical composers are performed together by a given orchestra in each concert program. This

chapter reveals that women composers’ broad and repeated connections to other composers in a

concert—regardless of whether the performance partner is the “star” or the “canonical”

individual—benefit them in receiving more performances by orchestras than do such connections

for men composers. Based on the results from each chapter, I argue that the networks work

differently for men and women composers, as well as work differently across different stages of

career success. Overall, this dissertation has substantial implications for understanding how

gender, which has traditionally been important in influencing work conditions and outcomes, still

signifies different work outcomes between freelance workers in the contemporary economy.

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