IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Occupation, Gender and Social Status. Questioning the Gender-Neutrality of Status Scales in Contemporary France


  • Anne-Sophie Cousteaux



Social distance scales can be defined in contemporary Western societies, based on the Weberian assertion that "social status" could be observed through close relationships between individuals, like marriage or friendship (see T.W. Chan, J. Goldthorpe, 2004). Here, we will consider scales built in France on the basis of the homogamy tendency. Our main concern will be on the gender neutrality of these scales. Indeed, whereas Goldthorpe and Chan assert that the status hierarchy is gender-neutral, they underline, using a multidimensional scaling analysis of the British matrix of friendship, that a second dimension expresses the degree of sex segregation of occupational categories. The aim of this paper is to assess this result when gender differences are more accurately taken into account than they are in previous analysis. That’s why we include non-working population, people without partners and part-time work for women. When taking into account all these elements, can we still assert that men and women in a same occupational category always have an equivalent status? More theoretically, is occupation sufficient to define social status ? The data come from the Echantillon Démographique Permanent (permanent demographic sample). The analysis will cover only 30-59 years old men and women in 1999. The method used is Multidimensional scaling. Hierarchy of status is actually similar for both genders, even if clear differences in scores appear for some categories. However, second dimensions are not correlated, thus revealing distinct overall structure by gender. When full-time/part-time work status is introduced among women’s occupational categories, it reveals the valuation of higher and intermediate categories working part-time compared to their counterparts working full-time. Finally, these findings question the meaning of social distance scales based on occupation only, and advocate taking into account the combination of family and occupational roles for a better appraisal of gender differences in social status.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne-Sophie Cousteaux, 2006. "Occupation, Gender and Social Status. Questioning the Gender-Neutrality of Status Scales in Contemporary France," Working Papers 2006-34, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2006-34

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Crest working paper version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aitken, Brian & Hanson, Gordon H. & Harrison, Ann E., 1997. "Spillovers, foreign investment, and export behavior," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1-2), pages 103-132, August.
    2. Salvador Barrios & Holger Goerg & Eric Strobl, 2003. "Explaining Firms' Export Behaviour: R&D, Spillovers and the Destination Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(4), pages 475-496, September.
    3. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Dissecting Trade: Firms, Industries, and Export Destinations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 150-154, May.
    4. Mary E. Lovely & Stuart S. Rosenthal & Shalini Sharma, 2017. "Information, agglomeration, and the headquarters of U.S. Exporters," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Economic Integration and Domestic Performance, chapter 6, pages 93-117 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
    6. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, September.
    7. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2004. "Micro-foundations of urban agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 48, pages 2063-2117 Elsevier.
    8. Greenaway, David & Sousa, Nuno & Wakelin, Katharine, 2004. "Do domestic firms learn to export from multinationals?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 1027-1043, November.
    9. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
    10. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    11. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-564, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Camille Peugny, 2007. "Éducation et mobilité sociale : la situation paradoxale des générations nées dans les années 1960," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 410(1), pages 23-45.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2006-34. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sri Srikandan) or (Christopher F Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.