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step4

Once an ESeC derivation matrix has been agreed upon, the classification will be applied to the analysis of relevant national and cross-national data. This will involve all partners except ONS (work packages 5-11). Construct validation considers whether ESeC ‘adds value’ to the explanation of life-chances. However, such comparisons cannot be settled by statistical measures alone. What we shall be concerned with is whether using ESeC improves our understanding of European societal problems and social processes. Construct validation must be a theoretically driven process. In particular, clear causal narratives are vital to construct validation exercises. Therefore, each validation study will use multivariate analyses to show how the effects of ESeC position are mediated via specific intervening variables. How socio-economic position has its effect will vary according to what it is we wish to explain. We will construct and test different models designed to link a range of different outcomes with what the ESeC and its components measure. The datasets to be used will not only cover EU member states represented in the consortium but some others, too.

The validation studies will, wherever possible, involve cross-national comparisons based upon data which, though national in origin, have been harmonized at the European level. The two most obvious sources for this are the European Union Labour Force Survey (ELFS) and the European Community Household Panel Study (ECHP). For some of the validation work it may well prove difficult to operationalize the ESeC within the ECHP, given the high level of aggregation of occupational information on each individual record of the panel study. To overcome this problem, we will encourage participants to base their validation studies on more detailed harmonised national sources. For example, some partners plan to undertake validation work based upon comparative analysis of information contained within the German Socio-economic Panel Study, the Italian Household Panel Study and the British Household Panel Study. We will also explore the potential to make use of the new European Social Survey and the International Social Survey Programme.

So far as is possible within the constraints of available data, validation studies will address issues relevant to the knowledge based society as specified under research areas 1 and 2 of Priority 7. In particular, analyses will focus on the baseline issues necessary to monitor future trends in the direction of the knowledge based society.

The individual validation plans will not be finalised until the conference in work package 4, at step 3. However, each relevant partner has submitted initial plans as follows: