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    This article is significantly revised from a paper given at the 1986 annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Atlanta. I thank the following people whose advice and comments on earlier drafts influenced my thinking: Marshall Clinard, Jim Coleman, Frank Cullen, Gil Geis, Jim Messerschmidt, Ilene Nagel, Al Reiss, Sally Simpson, David Weisburd, Stan Wheeler, Dorothy Zietz, and the anonymous reviewers. I am grateful to Elin Waring for her expert research assistance.

  • Kathleen Daly is Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Her theoretical and empirical interests are applying feminist, sociological, and legal theories to problems of crime and justice. She is currently engaged in a study of gender and conceptions of justice in a New Haven criminal court.


The Wheeler et al. (1982) data set of white-collar defendants is used to compare men's and women's socioeconomic profiles and occupations and the nature of their illegalities. The results show that a minority of men but only a handful of women fit the image of a highly placed white-collar offender. Most employed women were clerical workers, and most employed men were managers or administrators. Women were more likely to be nonwhite, less likely to have completed college, and owned less in economic assets. Men were more likely to work in crime groups and to use organizational resources in carrying out crimes, and their attempted economic gains were higher. Occupational marginality, not mobility, better explains the form of women's white-collar crime. The results raise questions about white-collar arrest data and the nature of crime and offenders in white-collar sentencing samples. They compel an investigation of the multiple injuences of gender, class, and race relations in generating varieties of white-collar crime and in being caught and prosecuted for white-collar crime.