Models and indicators


Journal Article (Review)

Returning to themes of Land (1971a) and Land (1971b), this article addresses topics in formal sociological models and the definition, construction, and interpretation of social indicators. I show how standard classes of formalisms used to construct models in contemporary sociology can be derived from the general theory of models. This demonstrates, at a high level of abstraction, the isomorphism of many formal sociological models to the formal models used in virtually every scientific discipline today. I also review recent model-building and model-evaluation efforts in which I have participated on the estimation of active life expectancy of the U.S. elderly population, an assessment of the robustness of a recently proposed adjusted total fertility rate, and the construction of a new index of child and youth well-being. These studies show how formal models help us to see patterns in data that otherwise are not detectable, improve social measurement, and, in particular, define and interpret social indicators.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Land, KC

Published Date

  • January 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 80 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 381 - 410

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0037-7732

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1353/sof.2001.0101

Citation Source

  • Scopus