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Justifying Functional Forms in Models for Transitions between Discrete States, with Particular Reference to Employment-Unemployment Dynamics


  • Dagsvik, John K.

    () (Research Department, Statistics Norway and the Ragnar Frisch Centre for)


This paper proposes a particular axiomatic approach to motivate the choice of functional forms and distribution of unobservables in continuous time models for discrete panel data analysis. We discuss in particular applications with data on transitions between employment and unemployment. This framework yields a characterization of transition probabilities and duration distributions in terms of structural parameters of the utility function and choice constraints. Moreover, it is discussed how the modeling framework can be extended to allow for involuntary transitions, structural state dependence and random effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Dagsvik, John K., 2006. "Justifying Functional Forms in Models for Transitions between Discrete States, with Particular Reference to Employment-Unemployment Dynamics," Memorandum 06/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2006_006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jain, Dipak C & Vilcassim, Naufel J & Chintagunta, Pradeep K, 1994. "A Random-Coefficients Logit Brand-Choice Model Applied to Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 317-328, July.
    2. Steinar StrØm & John K. Dagsvik, 2006. "Sectoral labour supply, choice restrictions and functional form," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 803-826.
    3. Dagsvik, John K. & Strom, Steinar & Jia, Zhiyang, 2006. "Utility of income as a random function: Behavioral characterization and empirical evidence," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 23-57, January.
    4. Gerard Debreu, 1957. "Stochastic Choice and Cardinal Utility," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 39, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
    6. Gaure, Simen & Roed, Knut & Zhang, Tao, 2007. "Time and causality: A Monte Carlo assessment of the timing-of-events approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1159-1195, December.
    7. John K. Dagsvik, 2002. "Discrete Choice in Continuous Time: Implications of an Intertemporal Version of the Iia Property," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 817-831, March.
    8. Dagsvik, J.K., 1998. "On the Structure of Behavioral Multistate Duration Models," Memorandum 11/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    9. Heckman, James J, 1991. "Identifying the Hand of the Past: Distinguishing State Dependence from Heterogeneity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 75-79, May.
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    More about this item


    Discrete choice in continuous time; Duration of unemployment/employment; Random utility models; Functional form; Invariance principles;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies

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