Gender, Occupational Prestige, and Wages: A Test of Devaluation Theory
2009 (English)In: European Sociological Review, ISSN 0266-7215, Vol. 25, no 1, 87-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Devaluation theory's basic assumption is that women are culturally devalued in society. As a consequence, female occupations and tasks are assumed to be less valued than are male tasks. Previous empirical research has found that the proportion females in an occupation has a net negative effect on wages. Less documented, however, is the relation between occupational sex composition and occupational prestige. By analysing whether the female share of an occupation or feminine work is negatively associated with occupational prestige, devaluation theory may be more directly tested than when using wages as the outcome variable. In addition, the article examines whether differences in occupational prestige account for part of the wage effect of sex composition, and whether women, relative to men, receive lower wage rewards for attained prestige. Analyses on Swedish data show that the association between the proportion females in an occupation and occupational prestige is non-linear. Mixed occupations (41–60 per cent female) have the highest prestige. Further, work generally done by women—care work—does not have lower prestige in society than other tasks. These findings do not support devaluation theory. The analysis also shows that women receive lower wage returns than do men to attained occupational prestige.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 25, no 1, 87-101 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18403DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcn035ISI: 000262719400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-18403DiVA: diva2:184926