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Exploring sequences: a graphical tool based on multi-dimensional scaling

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Sequence analysis has become one of the most used and discussed tools to describe life course trajectories. We introduce a new tool for the graphical exploratory analysis of sequences. Our plots combine standard sequence plots with the results that are provided by multi-dimensional scaling. We apply our procedure to describe work and family careers of Israeli women by using data from the Israel Social Mobility Survey. We first focus on some preliminary choices relative to the definition of the sequences: the age span, the length of the sequences and the set of states registered in each time period. We then describe how our plots can be used to gain insights about the main features of sequences and about the relationships between sequences and external information.
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Keywords: Coding of states; Dissimilarity; Length of sequences; Multi-dimensional scaling; Optimal matching; Sequence analysis; Sequence plots

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bocconi University, Milan, Italy

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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