preference theory

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preference theory Preference theory seeks to provide an empirically based, predictive explanation for the differentiated choices women make between productive work and reproductive work in rich modern societies, after the contraceptive revolution gave women control over their own fertility. It posits that women are heterogeneous in tastes and preferences, being divided into three distinct groups: a minority of work-centred women who often remain childless by choice (about 20 per cent of the adult population); a minority of home-centred women who usually have many children and do little paid work (about 20 per cent of the adult population); and a majority of adaptive women who seek to combine paid work in the labour market with childbearing and child-rearing. Preference theory states that the three groups differ qualitatively, for example in responsiveness to particular social and economic policies, to the point where they have conflicting interests on certain policy issues. The theory constitutes a break with sociological and economic theories that treat all labour as essentially homogeneous. See Catherine Hakim , Preference Theory (1998)