A Mechanism-Based Approach to the Identification of Age–Period–Cohort Models

Christopher Winship and David J. Harding A Mechanism-Based Approach to the Identification of Age–Period–Cohort Models Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 362-401. SMR 36:3 was a Special Issue on Age-Period-Cohort Analysis.

Chris Winship, SMR EditorThis article offers a new approach to the identification of age–period–cohort (APC) models that builds on Pearl’s work on nonparametric causal models, in particular his front-door criterion for the identification of causal effects. The goal is to specify the mechanisms through which the age, period, and cohort variables affect the outcome and in doing so identify the model. This approach allows for a broader set of identification strategies than has typically been considered in the literature and, in many circumstances, goodness of fit tests are possible. The authors illustrate the utility of the approach by developing an APC model for political alienation.

Key Words: APC models • mechanisms • cohorts • front-door criterion • identification strategies

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