Random-effects modeling of categorical response data

Alan Agresti, James G. Booth, James P. Hobert, Brian Caffo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


In many applications observations have some type of clustering, with observations within clusters tending to be correlated. A common instance of this occurs when each subject in the sample undergoes repeated measurement, in which case a cluster consists of the set of observations for the subject. One approach to modeling clustered data introduces cluster-level random effects into the model. The use of random effects in linear models for normal responses is well established. By contrast, random effects have only recently seen much use in models for categorical data. This chapter surveys a variety of potential social science applications of random effects modeling of categorical data. Applications discussed include repeated measurement for binary or ordinal responses, shrinkage to improve multiparameter estimation of a set of proportions or rates, multivariate latent variable modeling, hierarchically structured modeling, and cluster sampling. The models discussed belong to the class of generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs), an extension of ordinary linear models that permits non-normal response variables and both fixed and random effects in the predictor term. The models are GLMMs for either binomial or Poisson response variables, although we also present extensions to multicategory (nominal or ordinal) responses. We also summarize some of the technical issues of model-fitting that complicate the fitting of CLMMs even with existing software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-80
Number of pages54
JournalSociological Methodology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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