International Statistical Review

Inferential Implications of Over‐Parametrization: A Case Study in Incomplete Categorical Data

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Frederico Z. Poleto, Carlos D. Paulino, Geert Molenberghs, Julio M. Singer
  • Article first published online: 03 Apr 2011
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-5823.2011.00130.x
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Summary

In the context of either Bayesian or classical sensitivity analyses of over‐parametrized models for incomplete categorical data, it is well known that prior‐dependence on posterior inferences of nonidentifiable parameters or that too parsimonious over‐parametrized models may lead to erroneous conclusions. Nevertheless, some authors either pay no attention to which parameters are nonidentifiable or do not appropriately account for possible prior‐dependence. We review the literature on this topic and consider simple examples to emphasize that in both inferential frameworks, the subjective components can influence results in nontrivial ways, irrespectively of the sample size. Specifically, we show that prior distributions commonly regarded as slightly informative or noninformative may actually be too informative for nonidentifiable parameters, and that the choice of over‐parametrized models may drastically impact the results, suggesting that a careful examination of their effects should be considered before drawing conclusions.

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