IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The dangers of conditioning on the time of occurrence of one demographic process in the analysis of another

Listed author(s):
  • Jan M. Hoem

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Registered author(s):

    Demographers and others often study the interaction between two types of individual-level behaviour, such as migration and childbearing. Unfortunately, one can get estimation bias if one compares childbearing before and after migration from data confined to migrants, say, as is sometimes done to see whether international migration disrupts fertility. Similar issues can arise in comparisons of union formation before and after first birth, marriage formation before and after home purchase, as well as in other comparisons of behaviour before and after an index event if one confines the study only to those who have experienced the index event. We point out that if one does this, then the study of behaviour before the index event actually conditions on the later arrival of the index event. This amounts to anticipatory analysis, which normally produces an estimation bias. In this paper we discuss this issue, provide a mathematical and graphical representation of it, and show how one can avoid estimation bias and get a meaningful (unconditional) comparison of behaviour before and after the index event provided the data contain enough information for both sub-periods.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2013-006.

    in new window

    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: May 2013
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2013-006
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Courgeau, Daniel & Lelievre, Eva, 1993. "Event History Analysis in Demography," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287384.
    2. Hill Kulu & Andres Vikat, 2007. "Fertility differences by housing type: an effect of housing conditions or of selective moves?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Jan M. Hoem & Lesia Nedoluzhko, 2008. "Marriage formation as a process intermediary between migration and childbearing," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-015, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Jan M. Hoem & Lesia Nedoluzhko, 2008. "Marriage formation as a process intermediary between migration and childbearing," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 18(21), pages 611-628, June.
    5. repec:cai:poeine:pope_703_0351 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Laura E. Hill & Hans P. Johnson, 2004. "Fertility Changes Among Immigrants: Generations, Neighborhoods, and Personal Characteristics," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(3), pages 811-827.
    7. Gunnar Andersson & Boris Sobolev, 2001. "Small effects of selective migration and selective survival in retrospective studies of fertility," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-031, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2013-006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.