Social scientists have frequently sought to understand the distinct effects of age, period, and cohort, but disaggregation of the three dimensions is difficult because cohort = period − age. We argue that this technical difficulty reflects a disconnection between how the cohort effect is conceptualized and how it is modeled in the traditional age-period-cohort framework. We propose a new method, called the age-period-cohort-interaction (APC-I) model, that is qualitatively different from previous methods in that it represents Ryder’s theoretical account about the conditions under which cohort differentiation may arise. This APC-I model does not require problematic statistical assumptions and the interpretation is straightforward. It quantifies inter-cohort deviations from the age and period main effects and also permits hypothesis testing about intra-cohort life-course dynamics. We demonstrate how this new model can be used to examine age, period, and cohort patterns in women’s labor force participation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science