Learning about Quality: How the Quality of Military Personnel Is Revealed over Time

By James R. Hosek; Michael G. Mattock | Go to book overview

Appendix A
STANDARDIZATION AND COMPARISON BETWEEN GROUPS

This appendix outlines an approach to two topics relevant to possible future applications involving estimates of the quality model. These are (1) the standardization of expected quality and (2) the comparison of quality across groups.


STANDARDIZATION

The quality model can be used to compare expected quality across groups (cohorts, occupations, and services). However, standardization is required to make these comparisons meaningful. This is because, for reasons unrelated to quality, groups can differ in the percentage promoted to E-5 within the first term and in the influence of quality on promotion speed. We therefore want to adjust for these differences and focus on quality as defined by qi = βxi + εi

An example provides the rationale for standardizing. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, many signs indicated poor personnel outcomes: Recruits had low AFQT scores and education, attrition was high, and reenlistment rates were low. High attrition rates and low reenlistment rates, coupled with a fairly constant overall force size and rigid manning requirements for personnel by rank, led to more-rapid promotions. At that time, in other words, the military personnel system advanced low-quality cohorts more rapidly through the ranks. This produced a lower mean time to promotion and possibly a smaller variance in time to promotion. Further, because of the faster promotion rates, a higher percentage of personnel were promoted to E-5 in the first term. Consequently, if simply judged by promotion speed, these low-quality cohorts might be mistaken for high-quality cohorts compared with later cohorts that faced slower promotion speed.


Standardizing the Unobserved Component of Quality

The parameters of the baseline hazard function control for the median time to promotion, dispersion of time to promotion, and asymptotic level of the hazard rate. Therefore, when the model is estimated for different groups, the baseline hazard controls for groups' differences in median time, dispersion, and asymptotic hazard. With these differences controlled, we can isolate the effect of quality on shifting the baseline hazard function. Further, the quality shift effect is comparable across groups because quality is always measured in units of standard deviation. In particular,

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Learning about Quality: How the Quality of Military Personnel Is Revealed over Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Previous Studies and Personnel Quality Indicators 5
  • Chapter Three - A Bayesian Model of Service Member Quality 17
  • Chapter Four - Model Implementation 27
  • Chapter Five - Data and Empirical Results 39
  • Chapter Six - Conclusions 55
  • Appendix A - Standardization and Comparison Between Groups 61
  • Appendix B - Analysis Tables 69
  • Appendix C - Parameter Estimates 85
  • Bibliography 107
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