Measuring Socioeconomic Status

5. How SES is Measured

Exercise 2

This exercise asks the user to identify advantages and disadvantages of different composite measures of socioeconomic status.

Instructions:
For each of the potential composite measures of SES, identify one advantage and one disadvantage and place one of each with the appropriate measure.

Advantages:
Presumes SES is a household-level measure
Provides extra information about clustering of social interactions
Incorporates critical concept of “social capital”
Psychometrically sound measure
Comparability to many historical studies
Uses objective ratings that have been shown to be superior to subjective ratings

Disadvantages:
Uses occupational prestige rankings that are difficult to classify
Relies heavily on occupational groups
Requires more evaluation and may not be accepted by scientific audience
Uses subjective ratings that have been shown to be inferior to objective ratings
Relational nature of scale can make analyses complicated
Showed little gain to adding information beyond income and/or education

Composite measures:
Duncan Socioeconomic Index
Nam-Powers Occupational Status Score
Household Prestige Scale
CAPSES
Cambridge Social Interaction and Stratification Scale
National Statistics Socioeconomic Classification

Answers:
Duncan Socioeconomic Index
[Advantage: Comparability to many historical studies]
[Disadvantage: Uses subjective ratings that have been shown to be inferior to objective ratings]

Nam-Powers Occupational Status Score
[Advantage: Uses objective ratings that have been shown to be superior to subjective ratings]
[Disadvantage: Uses occupational prestige rankings that are difficult to classify]

Household Prestige Scale
[Advantage: Presumes SES is a household-level measure]
[Disadvantage: Requires more evaluation and may not be accepted by scientific audience]

CAPSES
[Advantage: Incorporates critical concept of “social capital”]
[Disadvantage: Showed little gain to adding information beyond income and/or education]

Cambridge Social Interaction and Stratification Scale
[Advantage: Provides extra information about clustering of social interactions]
[Disadvantage: Relies heavily on occupational groups]

National Statistics Socioeconomic Classification
[Advantage:  Psychometrically sound measure]
[Disadvantage: Relational nature of scale can make analyses complicated]