What matters in differences between life trajectories: A comparative review of sequence dissimilarity measures

TitleWhat matters in differences between life trajectories: A comparative review of sequence dissimilarity measures
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsStuder, M, Ritschard, G
JournalJournal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society)
Volume179
Issue2
Pagination481-511
Keywordsdissimilarity, distance, duration, optimal matching, sequencing, spells, state sequences, timing
Abstract

This is a comparative study of the multiple ways of measuring dissimilarities between state sequences. For sequences describing life courses, such as family life trajectories or professional careers, the important differences between the sequences essentially concern the sequencing (the order in which successive states appear), the timing, and the duration of the spells in the successive states. Even if some distance measures underperform, it has been shown that there is no universally optimal distance index and that the choice of a measure depends on which aspect we want to focus on. This study also introduces novel ways of measuring dissimilarities that overcome the flaws in existing measures.

DOI10.1111/rssa.12125
Refereed DesignationRefereed