Reviews

A researcher’s guide to the national statistics socio-economic classification

The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) was officially released in 2001 following a review by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Social and Economic Research Council (ESRC). This book looks at its content and operational function and demonstrates its flexibility. The conceptual basis of the NS-SEC is reviewed including its development and validity. Also, its usefulness and possible application as a research instrument is outlined.

The book has four main parts, each including a number of chapters written by several contributing authors. Part one, Introduction to the national statistics socio-economic classification, describes and explains the NS-SEC. Recommendations are given regarding its most appropriate usage and methods of analysis. Modifications of the full NS-SEC are specified in the event that some relevant information is not available.

Part two, The NS-SEC as a measure of employment relations, is an account of the criterion validity of the NS-SEC, assessing its capacity to measure the underlying concept of employment relations. The statistical basis of the classification is detailed and illustrates the systematic taxonomy of the occupational groups.

Part three, Construct validation, focuses on the relations between the NS-SEC and a number of health inequalities, and compares the new classification with that of the old social class and socio economic group measures. The usefulness of the instrument is demonstrated. In

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The book has four main parts, each including a number of chapters written by several contributing authors. Part one, Introduction to the national statistics socio-economic classification, describes and explains the NS-SEC. Recommendations are given regarding its most appropriate usage and methods of analysis. Modifications of the full NS-SEC are specified in the event that some relevant information is not available.

Part two, The NS-SEC as a measure of employment relations, is an account of the criterion validity of the NS-SEC, assessing its capacity to measure the underlying concept of employment relations. The statistical basis of the classification is detailed and illustrates the systematic taxonomy of the occupational groups.

Part three, Construct validation, focuses on the relations between the NS-SEC and a number of health inequalities, and compares the new classification with that of the old social class and socio economic group measures. The usefulness of the instrument is demonstrated. In part four, Further reflections on the NS- SEC, the authors give an overview of the NS-SEC, reflect on the key issues raised in Parts I-III, and identify issues that could possibly benefit from additional research.

Traditionally, social classifications have been widely used by epidemiologists, social and clinical scientists. This book would, therefore, appeal to a medical and social science readership, particularly those engaged in health and social inequality research.

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