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Modelling socioeconomic trajectories: an optimal matching approach

Modelling socioeconomic trajectories: an optimal matching approach Purpose – The aim of this paper is to describe the use of sequence analysis to model trajectories of life‐course economic activity status, within a broader research agenda aimed at improving understanding of the relationship between socioeconomic position and health. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis used data on 288 participants of the Boyd Orr Stratified Sub‐Sample, comprising a combination of prospective and retrospective information on economic activity status, as well as health in early old age. Economic activity was coded as a time‐based sequence of states for each participant based on six‐month periods throughout their lives. Economic activity was classified as: pre‐labour market; full‐time employment; part‐time employment; housewife; made redundant; stopped work due to illness; retired; other unemployed; or not applicable. Optimal matching analysis was carried out to produce a matrix of distances between each sequence, which was then used as the basis for cluster analysis. Findings – The optimal matching analysis resulted in the classification of individuals into five economic activity status trajectories: full‐time workers (transitional exit), part‐time housewives, career breakers, full‐time workers (late entry, early exit), and full‐time housewives. Originality/value – The paper presents the case for using sequence analysis as a methodological tool to facilitate a more interdisciplinary approach to the measurement of the life‐course socioeconomic position, in particular attempting to integrate the empirical emphasis of epidemiological research with the more theoretical contributions of sociology. This may in turn help generate a framework within which to examine the relationships between life‐course socioeconomic position and outcomes such as health in later life. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy Emerald Publishing

Modelling socioeconomic trajectories: an optimal matching approach

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0144-333X
DOI
10.1108/01443330810881268
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to describe the use of sequence analysis to model trajectories of life‐course economic activity status, within a broader research agenda aimed at improving understanding of the relationship between socioeconomic position and health. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis used data on 288 participants of the Boyd Orr Stratified Sub‐Sample, comprising a combination of prospective and retrospective information on economic activity status, as well as health in early old age. Economic activity was coded as a time‐based sequence of states for each participant based on six‐month periods throughout their lives. Economic activity was classified as: pre‐labour market; full‐time employment; part‐time employment; housewife; made redundant; stopped work due to illness; retired; other unemployed; or not applicable. Optimal matching analysis was carried out to produce a matrix of distances between each sequence, which was then used as the basis for cluster analysis. Findings – The optimal matching analysis resulted in the classification of individuals into five economic activity status trajectories: full‐time workers (transitional exit), part‐time housewives, career breakers, full‐time workers (late entry, early exit), and full‐time housewives. Originality/value – The paper presents the case for using sequence analysis as a methodological tool to facilitate a more interdisciplinary approach to the measurement of the life‐course socioeconomic position, in particular attempting to integrate the empirical emphasis of epidemiological research with the more theoretical contributions of sociology. This may in turn help generate a framework within which to examine the relationships between life‐course socioeconomic position and outcomes such as health in later life.

Journal

International Journal of Sociology and Social PolicyEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 20, 2008

Keywords: Lifeplanning; Health and safety; Socioeconomic regions; Economic models

References