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Interpreting the Components of Time Trends

Willard L. Rodgers
Sociological Methodology
Vol. 20 (1990), pp. 421-438
DOI: 10.2307/271092
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/271092
Page Count: 18
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Interpreting the Components of Time Trends
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Abstract

Procedures for decomposing differences between two populations-for example, into the part that is due to differences in age-specific rates and the part that is due to differences in age distributions-have been used to decompose time trends into the part that is due to changes occurring within cohorts and the part that is due to the gradual replacement of older by younger cohorts. It is not clear what is accomplished by such a decomposition of a trend, however. Decomposition does not tell us what types of variables may be the root causes of a trend, and there is a real danger that such a decomposition will confuse rather than clarify.

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