Volume 9 - Article 1 | Pages 1–24

Estimating multistate transition rates from population distributions

By Robert Schoen, Stefan H. Jonsson

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Date received:11 Nov 2002
Date published:29 Aug 2003
Word count:3819
Keywords:entropy, estimation techniques, iterative proportional fitting, multistate models


The ability to estimate transition rates (or probabilities) from population distributions has many potential applications in demography. Iterative Proportional Fitting (IPF) has been used for such estimation, but lacks a meaningful behavioral, or demographic, foundation. Here a new approach, Relative State Attractiveness (RSA), is advanced. It assumes that states become more (or less) attractive, and that rates respond accordingly. The RSA estimation procedure is developed and applied to model and actual data where the underlying rates are known.
Results show that RSA provides accurate estimates under a wide range of conditions, usually yielding values similar to those produced by IPF. Both methods are then applied to U.S. data to provide new estimates of interregional migration between the years 1980 and 1990.

Author's Affiliation

Robert Schoen - Pennsylvania State University, United States of America [Email]
Stefan H. Jonsson - Pennsylvania State University, United States of America [Email]

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