Many political processes consist of a series of theoretically meaningful transitions across discrete phases that occur through time. Yet political scientists are often theoretically interested in studying not just individual transitions between phases, but also the duration that subjects spend within phases, as well as the effect of covariates on subjects’ trajectories through the process’s multiple phases. We introduce the multistate survival model to political scientists, which is capable of modeling precisely this type of situation. The model is appealing because of its ability to accommodate multiple forms of causal complexity that unfold over time. In particular, we highlight three attractive features of multistate models: transition-specific baseline hazards, transition-specific covariate effects, and the ability to estimate transition probabilities. We provide two applications to illustrate these features.

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