We propose a novel method and algorithm for the analysis and clustering of mixed-type data using a hierarchical approach based on Forward Search. In our procedure, the identification of groups is based on the identification of similar trajectories and then linked to very intuitive two-dimensional maps. The proposed algorithm can use different measures for the calculation of distance in the case of mixed-type data, such as Gower's metric and Related metric scaling. A key feature of our algorithm is its ability to discard redundant information from a given set of variables. The practical usefulness of the algorithm is illustrated through two applications of high relevance for empirical economic research. The first one focuses on comparing different indicators of environmental policy stringency in different countries. The second one applies our procedure to identify clusters of countries based on information regarding their institutional characteristics.
forward search; mixed type data; outliers; robustness; redundant information; clustering