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Statistical classification with missing covariates

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Some results related to statistical classification in the presence of missing covariates are presented. We derive representations for the best (Bayes) classifier when some of the covariates can be missing; this is done without imposing any assumptions on the underlying missing probability mechanism. Furthermore, without assuming any missingness-at-random type of conditions, we also construct Bayes consistent classifiers that do not require any imputation-based techniques. Both parametric and non-parametric situations are considered but the emphasis is on the latter. In addition to simple missingness patterns, we also consider the full Swiss cheese model, where the missing covariates can be anywhere. Both mechanics and the theoretical validity of our results are discussed.
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Keywords: Bayes error; Classification; Consistency; Missing covariates

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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