Quality and Quantity

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

The Method of Purging Applied to Repeated Cross-Sectional Data

  • Manfred Te Grotenhuis
  • Rob Eisinga
  • Peer Scheepers


In cross-sectional survey research, it is quite common to estimate the(standardized) effect of independent variable(s) on a dependent variable. However, if repeated cross-sectional data are available, much is to be gained if the consequences of these effects on longitudinal social change are considered.

To assess these consequences, we describe a type of simulation in whichlongitudinal shifts in the independent variable's distribution, and longitudinal variation in effect on the dependent variable are `purged' from the data. Although the method of purging is known for many years, we add new practical features by relating the method to logistic and linear regression analysis. Because both logistic and linear regression analysis can be found in all majorstatistical packages, the method of purging is made available to a wider group of social scientists. With the use of repeated cross-sectional data, gathered in the Netherlands between 1970 and 1998, the new practical features of the purging method are shown, using the SPSS package.

purging simulation counter factual analysis repeated cross-sectional survey logistic and linear regression analysis 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Clogg, C. C. (1978). Adjustment of rates using multiplicative models. Demography 15: 523–539.Google Scholar
  2. Clogg, C. C. & Eliasen, S. R. (1988). A flexible procedure for adjusting rates and proportions, including statistical methods for group comparisons. American Sociological Review 53: 267–283.Google Scholar
  3. Clogg, C. C., Shockey, J. W. & Eliasen, S. R. (1990). A general statistical framework for adjustment of rates. Sociological Methods and Research 19: 156–195.Google Scholar
  4. Eisinga, R. & Felling, A. (1990). Church membership in the Netherlands, 1960–1987. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 29: 108–112.Google Scholar
  5. Eisinga, R., Felling, A. & Franses, P. H. (1997). De afbrokkeling van het electoraat van (de voorlopers van) het CDA. Sociologische Gids 44: 77–99.Google Scholar
  6. Gomulka, Joanna & Stern, Nicholas (1990). The employment of married women in the United Kingdom, 1970–83. Economica 57: 171–199.Google Scholar
  7. Grotenhuis, M. te, Eisinga, R. & Scheepers, P. (1998). Welke gevolgen heft ontkerkelijking? Een verkenning op het terrein van cultuur, demografie, economie, politiek en welzijn in Nederland tussen 1970 en 1995. Tijdschrift voor Sociologie 19: 5–32.Google Scholar
  8. Grotenhuis, M. te & Scheepers, P. (2001). Churches in Dutch. Causes of religious disaffiliation in the Netherlands, 1937–1995. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 40: 591–606.Google Scholar
  9. Have, M. ten, Grotenhuis, M. te, Scheepers, P., Meertens, V. & Vollebergh, W. Trends in the use of community mental health and social work services in the Netherlands, 1979–1995, adjusted for behavioural changes and varying effects (submitted).Google Scholar
  10. Liao, T. F. (1989). A flexible approach for the decomposition of rate differences. Demography 26: 717–726.Google Scholar
  11. Nieuwbeerta, P. (1995). The Democratic Class Struggle in Twenty Countries 1945–1990. Amsterdam: Thesis PublishersGoogle Scholar
  12. Scheepers, P., Grotenhuis, M. Te & Van Der Slik, F. (2002). Education, religiosity and moral attitudes: Explaining cross-national effect differences, Sociology of Religion 63: 157–176.Google Scholar
  13. Stark, R. (1994). Sociology. Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  14. Ultee, W., Flap, H. & Arts, W. (1992). Sociologie. Vragen, uitspraken en bevindingen. Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff.Google Scholar
  15. Xie, Y. (1989). An alternative purging method: Controlling the composition-dependent interaction in an analysis of rates. Demography 26: 711–716.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manfred Te Grotenhuis
    • 1
  • Rob Eisinga
    • 1
  • Peer Scheepers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Science Research MethodsUniversity of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations