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The modifiable areal unit problem in multivariate statistical analysis

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  • A S Fotheringham
  • D W S Wong
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    Abstract

    In this paper the examination of the modifiable areal unit problem is extended into multivariate statistical analysis. In an investigation of the parameter estimates from a multiple linear regression model and a multiple logit regression model, conclusions are drawn about the sensitivity of such estimates to variations in scale and zoning systems. The modifiable areal unit problem is shown to be essentially unpredictable in its intensity and effects in multivariate statistical analysis and is therefore a much greater problem than in univariate or bivariate analysis. The results of this analysis are rather depressing in that they provide strong evidence of the unreliability of any multivariate analysis undertaken with data from areal units. Given that such analyses can only be expected to increase with the imminent availability of new census data both in the United Kingdom and in the USA, and the current proliferation of GIS (geographical information system) technology which permits even more access to aggregated data, this paper serves as a topical warning.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning A.

    Volume (Year): 23 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 1025-1044

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    Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:23:y:1991:i:7:p:1025-1044

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    Cited by:
    1. Juan Carlos Duque & Raúl Ramos, 2004. "Design of homogenous territorial units: a methodological proposal," ERSA conference papers ersa04p6, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Portnov, Boris A. & Felsenstein, Daniel, 2010. "On the suitability of income inequality measures for regional analysis: Some evidence from simulation analysis and bootstrapping tests," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 212-219, December.
    3. Gift Dumedah & Nadine Schuurman & Wanhong Yang, 2008. "Minimizing effects of scale distortion for spatially grouped census data using rough sets," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 47-69, March.
    4. Philippe Apparicio & Anne-Marie Séguin & Daniel Naud, 2008. "The Quality of the Urban Environment Around Public Housing Buildings in Montréal: An Objective Approach Based on GIS and Multivariate Statistical Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 86(3), pages 355-380, May.
    5. Burger, M.J. & van Oort, F.G. & van der Knaap, G.A., 2008. "A Treatise on the Geographical Scale of Agglomeration Externalities and the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2008-076-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    6. Anthony Briant & Pierre-Philippe Combes & Miren Lafourcade, 2008. "Dots To Boxes: Do The Size And Shape Of Spatial Units Jeopardize Economic Geography Estimations?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00349294, HAL.
    7. Niedzielski, Michael A. & Horner, Mark W. & Xiao, Ningchuan, 2013. "Analyzing scale independence in jobs-housing and commute efficiency metrics," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 129-143.
    8. PHOLO BALA, Alain & PEETERS, Dominique & THOMAS, Isabelle, 2013. "Spatial issues on a hedonic estimation of rents in Brussels," CORE Discussion Papers 2013036, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    9. Guangqing Chi & Jun Zhu, 2008. "Spatial Regression Models for Demographic Analysis," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 17-42, February.
    10. Exeter, Daniel John & Rodgers, Sarah & Sabel, Clive Eric, 2014. "“Whose data is it anyway?” The implications of putting small area-level health and social data online," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 88-96.
    11. Bivand, Roger & Szymanski, Stefan, 2000. "Modelling the spatial impact of the introduction of Compulsory Competitive Tendering," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 203-219, March.
    12. Suau-Sanchez, Pere & Burghouwt, Guillaume & Pallares-Barbera, Montserrat, 2014. "An appraisal of the CORINE land cover database in airport catchment area analysis using a GIS approach," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 12-16.
    13. Yiming Wang, 2011. "White flight in Los Angeles county, 1960–1990: a model of fuzzy tipping," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 111-129, August.
    14. Tamás Dusek, 2005. "The modifiable areal unit problem in regional economics," ERSA conference papers ersa05p357, European Regional Science Association.
    15. HURIOT, Jean-Marie & PERREUR, Jacky, 1998. "Journey to the Centre of Europe," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 1998-06, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
    16. Wang, Lu & Hu, Wei, 2013. "Immigrant health, place effect and regional disparities in Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 8-17.
    17. Vemuri, Amanda W. & Costanza, Robert, 2006. "The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: Toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 119-133, June.
    18. Sabel, C.E. & Kihal, W. & Bard, D. & Weber, C., 2013. "Creation of synthetic homogeneous neighbourhoods using zone design algorithms to explore relationships between asthma and deprivation in Strasbourg, France," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 110-121.
    19. Andresen, Martin A., 2011. "Estimating the probability of local crime clusters: The impact of immediate spatial neighbors," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 394-404.

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