Saturday, June 29, 2024

Sida Liu et al on Digital Habitus and Age-based Earnings Differentials in Online Legal Services (BJIR)

"Where rookies prevail: Digital habitus and age-based earnings differentials in online legal services"
Sida Liu, Yao Yao
British Journal of Industrial Relations
Published online: June 2024

Abstract: This research investigates how and why the digitalization of work can disrupt age-based earnings stratification in an occupation. Analysing a service archive dataset from a major online legal service platform in China, the study finds that, contrary to the traditional patterns of income inequality, younger lawyers earn more than older lawyers in the digital legal field. Further analyses of the platform's service records and interviews with lawyers working on this platform suggest that the platform's work content and work distribution mechanism make mature lawyers’ human, social and symbolic capital less useful. Meanwhile, the preferences of platform clients place added value on younger lawyers’ digital habitus and turn it into a new form of cultural capital, manifested in their proficiency and effectiveness in digital communication. By examining habitus and capital in the emerging digital legal field, this research deepens the understanding of the impact of digital technologies on knowledge-intensive occupations.

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