A New Measure of Social Position in Europe

Publication type

Conference Paper


European Panel Users Network Conference


Publication date

July 4, 2003


This paper describes the theoretical basis and statistical construction of a new measure of social position based on an estimate of human capital. We argue that previous methods of measuring social position, or 'social class', have significant shortcomings related to both their theoretical underpinnings and their categorical nature. We offer as an alternative a scalar measure grounded in classical and contemporary social stratification theory. Next, we describe the construction of the score using the European Community Household Panel data. Finally, we generate the score and demonstrate its application in examining the outcomes of changes in family status among men and women from the EU member states.



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