Event History Modeling: A Guide for Social Scientists. By
Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier and Bradford S. Jones. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2004. 232p. $65.00 cloth, $23.99 paper.
The study of durations in political science has been on the rise over
the last decade and a half. Their application spans major research
questions in virtually every field, including the duration of
parliamentary governments, international conflict, policy adoptions in the
U.S. states, and issue emergence in campaigns. Testing theoretical
arguments regarding these and other questions involving durations has led
political scientists to learn about and rely upon statistical models for
durations, often referred to as event history models. Perhaps more than
models for other classes of data, learning about event history models,
particularly those for continuous-time data, presents a formidable task.
This is partly due to the unique language of the models (e.g., terms like
“spell,” “failure,” “frailty,” and
“hazard”) that developed through their application in other
disciplines, but also because of the new concerns that they involve. For
example, how should one control for duration dependence? Is the
proportional hazards assumption met?