The uses and abuses of an age-period-cohort method: On the linear algebra and statistical properties of intrinsic and related estimators

Qiang Fu, Xin Guo, Sun Young Jeon, Eric N. Reither, Emma Zang, Kenneth C. Land

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

As a sophisticated and popular age-period-cohort method, the Intrinsic Estimator (IE) and related estimators have evoked intense debate in demography, sociology, epidemiology and statistics. This study aims to provide a more holistic review and critical assessment of the overall methodological significance of the IE and related estimators in age-period-cohort analysis. We derive the statistical properties of the IE from a linear algebraic perspective, provide more precise mathematical proofs relevant to the current debate, and demonstrate the essential, yet overlooked, link between the IE and classical statistical tools that have been employed by scholars for decades. This study offers guidelines for the future use of the IE and related estimators in demographic research. The exposition of the IE and related estimators may help redirect, if not settle, the logic of the debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-59
Number of pages15
JournalMathematical Foundations of Computing
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • age-period-cohort analysis
  • asymptotic property
  • Intrinsic estimator
  • principal components regression
  • ridge regression
  • statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Theoretical Computer Science

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