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Criterion Validity and Occupational Classification: the seven economic relations and the NS-SEC

By Coxon A and Fisher K


One question raised in the testing of the criterion validity of the new NS-SEC is whether people assigned to a given NS-SEC category experience highly similar working conditions which are distinct from the conditions experienced by groups of people assigned to other categories. This paper tackles this validation issue by taking the seven working conditions variables asked in the 1997 LFS (and reduced to dichotomous form by Elias and McKnight) and (i) examining their internal coherence and patterns of inter-relationships at the individual level, and (ii) by comparing the profiles for each of 90 Occupational Unit Groups. Although the criteria have a high degree of internal coherence, the patterns differ when respondents do not have influence over the design of their employment tasks. Control over starting and leaving time is markedly independent of the other criteria. Nevertheless, the occupational profiles are well discriminated, indicating a high degree of similarity within, and dissimilarity between the groups.

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