The rational action model is an often cited explanation of class differences in educational choice, but is the empirical evidence for this theory sufficient? In this paper, I review empirical articles from the past 10 years, with the aim of testing the rational action model of class differences in educational choice. I conclude that existing studies generally support the idea that costs, benefits and perceived chances of success are important predictors of educational choice and contribute to class differences. The idea of relative risk aversion is also sustained: The actors seek to avoid social degrading compared to their parents position. These are all key elements in the rational action model. However, the empirical evidence does not provide support for excluding other explanations of class differences in educational choices, especially cultural capital theory.
The article is a contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the impact of preferences for work and family on the employment pattern of women. Based on longitudinal data on female nurses and female physicians, womens attitudes to part-time work during training and in the first years as professionals are examined. Despite very different patterns of part-time work in the two occupations, female nurses and female physicians evaluate opportunities for part-time work in fairly similar ways. However, differences in the development over time of attitudes to part-time work are found. Nurses attitudes to part-time work appear to develop through a continuous process of adaptation, while physicians attitudes are relatively stable and to a lesser degree adapted to the occupational structure. Physicians evaluation of opportunities for part-time work seems to be more in line with national norms for womens employment pattern than with physicians actual occupational opportunity structure.
By examining material from a sociological study of face-to-face interaction taking place in social welfare offices in Norway, questions linked to different contextual aspects within these contexts are targeted in this article. Results are compiled from observations of interpreted dialogues between Norwegian social workers and their clients from minority groups of refugees and immigrants. Additionally, the article presents a discussion of two different models of communication in analysing interpreted dialogues.
The motherhood wage penalty is today probably the largest obstacle to progress in gender equality at work. Using matched employer–employee data from Norway (1980–97), a country with public policies that promote combining family and career, we investigate (a) whether the penalty arises from differential pay by employers or from sorting of employees on occupations and establishments, and (b) changes in the penalties over time in a period with major changes in family policies. The findings are as follows: (1) There are major wage penalties to motherhood, but these declined strongly over the 18–year period, likely caused by changes in family policies and in how families operate. (2) The penalty to motherhood is mostly due to sorting on occupations and occupation-establishment units. By 1995–97, mothers and non-mothers working in the same occupation-establishment unit were paid the same wages. (3) Women who become mothers are wage wise positively selected, but the premia are wiped out by the negative effects of actual motherhood. In conclusion, the motherhood penalty is not due to employers paying mothers lower wages and its size appears sensitive to changes in family policies, with large reductions in penalties over time.