|Title||A comparative review of sequence dissimilarity measures|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Studer, M, Ritschard, G|
|Journal||LIVES Working Papers|
|Keywords||dissimilarity, distance, duration, optimal matching, sequencing, spells, state sequences, timing|
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.