Dr Catherine Hakim is a pioneering British social scientist and author. Currently, she is Professorial Research Fellow at Civitas, the London think tank. From 1993 to 2012, she was Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, then at the Centre for Policy Research in London and the WZB social science research institute in Berlin. She has published extensively, with over 100 papers published in British, European and American refereed academic journals and edited collections, four textbooks, and over a dozen books and monographs on the labour market, changing patterns of employment and working time, women’s employment and women’s position in society, occupational segregation and the pay gap, self-employment and small firms, social engineering, models of the family, work orientations and lifestyle preferences, changing social attitudes, voluntary childlessness, social and family policy, research design, social statistics and cross-national comparative research in all these fields. She is best known for developing preference theory and, most recently, a theory of erotic capital – both based on the latest empirical research evidence.  She sits on the Editorial Boards of several academic journals, including  the European Sociological Review and International Sociology, and referees for dozens more.

Areas of expertise and current work include:

  • The rising importance of erotic capital (attractiveness) for success in public and private life, including politics, the labour market, dating and marriage markets.  Trends in sexuality and sexual relationships. See ‘Embracing erotic capital’ (see PDF), initial reports in the European Sociological Review (see PDF) and Times Higher Education (see PDF)  – now developed into a book published in Britain (Penguin), the USA (Basic Books) and Germany (Campus). Further translations have been published in Spain (Debate), Italy (Mondadori), Brazil (Record), Japan (Kyodo News), Korea (Minumsa), Taiwan (Wealth Press), China (Grand China), Romania and other countries. Comments and reactions from around the world are listed in the Penguin press release (see PDF). The New Rules (2012) is a study of men’s and women’s experiences of internet dating, and explores the importance of attractiveness for people seeking ‘playfairs’ –  discreet hedonistic affairs while preserving marriage and family life.
  • Preference theory and its application in research and social policy across Europe. Consonant with complexity theory, preference theory identifies diverse outcomes from common starting points. Social scientists around the globe have confirmed the central classification of lifestyle choices (see Table 3 attached) and are exploring its application within their countries, in studies of fertility and employment.
  • Women’s employment and the relative importance of lifestyle choices versus structural factors in explaining the stable pay gap and other sex differences in European labour market outcomes. Her book Key Issues in Women’s Work sets out the issues and evidence to date, in advanced economies and China. She has contributed to debates on female quotas for company boards and gender equality indexes. Her Centre for Policy Studies report on Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine offers a critique of the claims made for the success of Scandinavian social policies including the Norwegian female quotas on boards- see PDF file
  • Honey Money press release
  • Attitudes to fertility and (voluntary) childlessness. Her comparative study of childlessness across Europe remains unique and topical. See Childlessness in Europe

Photo: Charles Shearn