The Making of American Exceptionalism: The Knights of Labor and Class Formation in the Nineteenth Century

By Kim Voss | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 3 Event-History Analysis

The methodological problem in Chapters 5-7 is to model dynamic processes: the emergence and disappearance of Knights of Labor assemblies. Having constructed organizational histories for every local industry and every town in New Jersey, I wanted to analyze statistically two portions of this sequence--the development of organization among less--skilled workers and the demise of all types of Knights local assemblies.

Event-history analysis provides a way of analyzing a longitudinal record of when events happened to a sample of individuals or collectivities.1. For the sake of illustration, consider first the "event" modeled in Chapter 5: the founding of a new Knights of Labor local that incorporates less-skilled workers.

Formally, let Pjk (t, t + Δt) be the probability that an individual (or collectivity) in state j at time t is in some other state k at time t + Δt,

____________________
1.
For an introduction to event-history analysis, see Glenn R. Carroll, "Dynamic Analysis of Discrete Dependent Variables: A Didactic Essay," Quality and Quantity 19 ( 1983): 425-60; Paul D. Allison, Event History Analysis, Sage University Paper Series on Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences ( Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1984); and Lawrence E. Raffalovich and David Knoke, "Quantitative Methods for the Analysis of Historical Change," Historical Methods 16 ( 1983): 149-54. My discussion draws especially from these sources. A more technical exposition can be found in Tuma and Hannan, Social Dynamics. A nontechnical, more philosophical discussion is presented in Andrew Abbott, "Sequences of Social Events: Concepts and Methods for the Analysis of Order in Social Processes," Historical Methods 16 ( 1983): 129-47.

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