Not all transitions are equal:

the relationship between effects on passing steps in a sequential process and effects on the final outcome

Maarten L. Buis

Sociological Methods & Research (forthcomming).

This article deals with a model for describing a sequence of events, for example: education is typically attained by a set of transitions from one level of education to the next. In particular this article tries to reconcile measures describing the effect of a variable on each of these transitions with measures describing the effect of this variable on the final outcome of that process. Such a relationship has been known to exist within a sequential logit model, but it has hardly been used in empirical research, mainly because of an absence of a practical way of giving it a substantive interpretation. This article tries to provide such an interpretation, by showing that the effect on the final outcome is a weighted sum of the effects on each transition, such that a transition gets more weight if more people are at risk of passing that transition, passing the transition is more differentiating, and people gain more from passing.

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