The impossibility of separating age, period and cohort effects

Andrew Bell, Kelvyn Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


This commentary discusses the age-period-cohort identification problem. It shows that, despite a plethora of proposed solutions in the literature, no model is able to solve the identification problem because the identification problem is inherent to the real-world processes being modelled. As such, we cast doubt on the conclusions of a number of papers, including one presented here (Page, Milner, Morrell, & Taylor, 2013). We conclude with some recommendations for those wanting to model age, period and cohort in a compelling way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-5
Number of pages3
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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    Rintoul, D. A.


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