Techniques based upon odds ratios or log-linear modeling of status contingency tables are now almost universally accepted as providing adequate controls for ‘structural’ changes in the size and job composition of the occupational structure, and thus permitting comparisons of the ‘process of mobility’ or of ‘exchange’ or ‘circulation’ mobility unconfounded by structural effects. This paper questions whether the techniques are fully adequate. Formulae for odds ratios are derived for matrices generated by vacancy models, demographic manpower models and first-order Markov mobility models—the major approaches to explicitly modeling the ‘processes of mobility’ that might underlie or generate status contingency tables of the sort analyzed in the literature. In each application odds ratios can differ, implying changes in the underlying process of mobility, when only the availability of positions or the length of the cohort's exposure to opportunities has varied. The paper concludes that controlling for the size of marginals is not equivalent to controlling for the availability of positions, and that odds ratio, controls must be interpreted with greater caution in trend and comparative research.
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