GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 2006


A new method is presented and implemented for deriving a scale of socioeconomic status (SES) from international survey data using a multilevel Bayesian item response theory (IRT) model. The proposed model incorporates both international anchor items and nation-specific items and is able to (a) produce student family SES scores that are internationally comparable, (b) reduce the influence of irrelevant national differences in culture on the SES scores, and (c) effectively and efficiently deal with the problem of missing data in a manner similar to Rubin’s (1987) multiple imputation approach. The results suggest that this model is superior to conventional models in terms of its fit to the data and its ability to use information collected via international surveys.


Postprint version. Published in Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Volume 31, Issue 1, 2006, pages 63-79.
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Bayesian estimation, item response theory, missing data, multilevel modeling, socioeconomic status



Date Posted: 27 August 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.