Quality & Quantity

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 623–639 | Cite as

The conceptualisation and measurement of occupational hierarchies: a review, a proposal and some illustrative analyses

  • Erzsebet Bukodi
  • Shirley Dex
  • John H. Goldthorpe


Occupational data are central to much research in the field of social stratification. Yet there is little consensus on how such data are most appropriately classified and scaled. We evaluate occupational scales currently in use on the basis of a fourfold typology. This cross-classifies scales, on the one hand, according to whether they are intended to be ‘synthetic’ or ‘analytic’ and, on the other, according to whether they are based on ‘subjective’ or ‘objective’ data. Focusing chiefly on issues of validity, we argue that scales of the analytic-objective type are those which, for most purposes, can be used to best advantage in stratification research. We illustrate our argument by applying scales of occupational earnings and occupational status in analyses of the worklife occupational mobility of men in Britain, using the data-set of the National Child Development Study.


Occupational scales Worklife occupational mobility 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erzsebet Bukodi
    • 1
  • Shirley Dex
    • 1
  • John H. Goldthorpe
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Nuffield CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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