A MIXED MODELS APPROACH TO THE AGE-PERIOD-COHORT ANALYSIS OF REPEATED CROSS-SECTION SURVEYS, WITH AN APPLICATION TO DATA ON TRENDS IN VERBAL TEST SCORES

Authors


  • Revision of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 16–19, 2003, Atlanta, Georgia. We thank Robert O'Brien and anonymous reviewers for comments. The research reported herein was supported in part by NIH/NIA Grant Numbers R01AG07198, P30AG12852, and K07AG00892. Direct correspondence to Yang Yang, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1126 E. 59th St., Chicago, IL 60637; e-mail: yangy@uchicago.edu.

Abstract

We develop a mixed (fixed and random effects) models approach to the age-period-cohort (APC) analysis of micro data sets in the form of a series of the repeated cross-section sample surveys that are increasingly available to sociologists. This approach recognizes the multilevel structure of the individual-level responses. As a substantive illustration, we apply our proposed methodology to data on verbal test scores from 15 cross-sections of the General Social Survey, 1974–2000. These data have been the subject of recent debates in the sociological literature. We show how our approach can be used to shed new light on these debates by identifying and estimating age, period, and cohort components of change.

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