‘The editors of the new SAGE Handbook of Regression Analysis and Causal Inference have assembled a wide-ranging, high-quality, and timely collection of articles on topics of central importance to quantitative social research, many written by leaders in the field. Everyone engaged in statistical analysis of social-science data will find something of interest in this book.’

- John Fox, Professor, Department of Sociology, McMaster University

‘The authors do a great job in explaining the various statistical methods in a clear and simple way - focussing on fundamental understanding, interpretation of results, and practical application - yet being precise in their exposition.’

- Ben Jann, Executive Director, Institute of Sociology, University of Bern

‘Best and Wolf have put together a powerful collection, especially valuable in its separate discussions of uses for both cross-sectional and panel data analysis.’

-Tom Smith, Senior Fellow, NORC, University of Chicago

Edited and written by a team of leading international social scientists, this Handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to multivariate methods. The Handbook focuses on regression analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal data with an emphasis on causal analysis, thereby covering a large number of different techniques including selection models, complex samples, and regression discontinuities.

Each Part starts with a non-mathematical introduction to the method covered in that section, giving readers a basic knowledge of the method's logic, scope and unique features. Next, the mathematical and statistical basis of each method is presented along with advanced aspects. Using real-world data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and the Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), the book provides a comprehensive discussion of each method's application, making this an ideal text for PhD students and researchers embarking on their own data analysis.

Chapter 16: Event History Analysis

Event History Analysis

Event history analysis
Hans-PeterBlossfeld and Gwendolin J.Blossfeld

Introduction to the Method

The empirical investigation of causal relationships is an important but difficult scientific endeavor. In the social sciences, two understandings of causation have guided the empirical analysis of causal relationships (see Goldthorpe, 2001): ‘causation as robust dependence’ and ‘causation as consequential manipulation'. Both approaches clearly have strengths and weaknesses for the social sciences which will be shortly discussed. Based on this elaboration, a third understanding of ‘causation as generative process', proposed by David Cox (1990, 1992), is then further developed. This idea seems to be particularly valuable as a framework for event history analysis because it directs the attention of causal analysis towards the study of time lags between causes and their effects as well ...

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