Conditional statistical inference and quantification of relevance

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Abstract:

Summary.

We argue that it can be fruitful to take a predictive view on notions such as the precision of a point estimator and the confidence of an interval estimator in frequentist inference. This predictive approach has implications for conditional inference, because it immediately allows a quantification of the concept of relevance for conditional inference. Conditioning on an ancillary statistic makes inference more relevant in this sense, provided that the ancillary is a precision index. Not all ancillary statistics satisfy this demand. We discuss the problem of choice between alternative ancillary statistics. The approach also has implications for the best choice of variance estimator, taking account of correlations with the squared error of estimation itself. The theory is illustrated by numerous examples, many of which are classical.

Keywords: Ancillarity; Confidence; Precision index; Precision of estimate; Predictive approach; Variance estimator

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9868.00387

Affiliations: Stockholm University, Sweden

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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