Bayesian model selection using encompassing priors
This paper deals with Bayesian selection of models that can be specified using inequality constraints among the model parameters. The concept of encompassing priors is introduced, that is, a prior distribution for an unconstrained model from which the prior distributions of the constrained models can be derived. It is shown that the Bayes factor for the encompassing and a constrained model has a very nice interpretation: it is the ratio of the proportion of the prior and posterior distribution of the encompassing model in agreement with the constrained model. It is also shown that, for a specific class of models, selection based on encompassing priors will render a virtually objective selection procedure. The paper concludes with three illustrative examples: an analysis of variance with ordered means; a contingency table analysis with ordered odds-ratios; and a multilevel model with ordered slopes.
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