Choosing a measure of occupational standing: How useful are composite measures in analyses of gender inequality in occupational attainment?

John Robert Warren, Jennifer T. Sheridan, Robert M. Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Does the choice of measure of occupational standing affect inferences about gender differences in occupational attainment? The authors use data from the 1994 General Social Survey and the 1986-1988 Survey of Income and Program Participation to analyze the role of gender in the process of occupational attainment 15 times, each time using a different measure of occupational standing. Composite indexes of occupational standing are too heterogeneous to be useful in studies of occupational stratification, especially studies of gender differences. Women often have higher levels of education than men in the same occupation, while the opposite is true for earnings. Thus, using a composite index, the relative standing of men's and women's occupations is an arbitrary function of the weights given to occupational education and earnings. It is preferable to index occupations separately by each of their socioeconomic characteristics, or to use other, more direct measures of occupational characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-76
Number of pages74
JournalSociological Methods and Research
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

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