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It's about Time: Using Discrete-Time Survival Analysis to Study Duration and the Timing of Events

Judith D. Singer and John B. Willett
Journal of Educational Statistics
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Summer, 1993), pp. 155-195
DOI: 10.2307/1165085
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1165085
Page Count: 41
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It's about Time: Using Discrete-Time Survival Analysis to Study Duration and the Timing of Events
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Abstract

Educational researchers frequently ask whether and, if so, when events occur. Until relatively recently, however, sound statistical methods for answering such questions have not been readily available. In this article, by empirical example and mathematical argument, we demonstrate how the methods of discrete-time survival analysis provide educational statisticians with an ideal framework for studying event occurrence. Using longitudinal data on the career paths of 3,941 special educators as a springboard, we derive maximum likelihood estimators for the parameters of a discrete-time hazard model, and we show how the model can be fit using standard logistic regression software. We then distinguish among the several types of main effects and interactions that can be included as predictors in the model, offering data analytic advice for the practitioner. To aid educational statisticians interested in conducting discrete-time survival analysis, we provide illustrative computer code (SAS, 1989) for fitting discrete-time hazard models and for recapturing fitted hazard and survival functions.

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