Composite measures for assessing multidimensional social exclusion in later life: Conceptual and methodological challenges

Keogh, Sinéad
O’Neill, Stephen
Walsh, Kieran
Keogh, Sinéad, O’Neill, Stephen, & Walsh, Kieran. (2021). Composite Measures for Assessing Multidimensional Social Exclusion in Later Life: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges. Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-021-02617-7
Although there are a number of approaches to constructing a measure of multidimensional social exclusion in later life, theoretical and methodological challenges exist around the aggregation and weighting of constituent indicators. This is in addition to a reliance on secondary data sources that were not designed to collect information on social exclusion. In this paper, we address these challenges by comparing a range of existing and novel approaches to constructing a composite measure and assess their performance in explaining social exclusion in later life. We focus on three widely used approaches (sum-of-scores with an applied threshold; principal component analysis; normalisation with linear aggregation), and three novel supervised machine-learning based approaches (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator; classification and regression tree; random forest). Using an older age social exclusion conceptual framework, these approaches are applied empirically with data from Wave 1 of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). The performances of the approaches are assessed using variables that are causally related to social exclusion.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland