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A Flexible Nonparametric Test for Conditional Independence

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  • Huang, Meng
  • Sun, Yixiao
  • White, Hal

Abstract

This paper proposes a nonparametric test for conditional independence that is easy to implement, yet powerful in the sense that it is consistent and achieves root-n local power. The test statistic is based on an estimator of the topological "distance" between restricted and unrestricted probability measures corresponding to conditional independence or its absence. The distance is evaluated using a family of Generically Comprehensively Revealing (GCR) functions, such as the exponential or logistic functions, which are indexed by nuisance parameters. The use of GCR functions makes the test able to detect any deviation from the null. We use a kernel smoothing method when estimating the distance. An integrated conditional moment (ICM) test statistic based on these estimates is obtained by integrating out the nuisance parameters. We simulate the critical values using a conditional simulation approach. Monte Carlo experiments show that the test performs well in Önite samples. As an application, we test the key assumption of unconfoundedness in the context of estimating the returns to schooling.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt3pt89204.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt3pt89204

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Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences; Physical Sciences and Mathematics; Conditional Independence; Generically Comprehensively Revealing; Nonparametric Test;

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  1. Bierens, H.J., 1989. "A consistent conditional moment test of functional form," Serie Research Memoranda 0064, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  2. Su, Liangjun & White, Halbert, 2003. "Testing Conditional Independence Via Empirical Likelihood," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt35v8g0fm, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. Powell, James L. & Stoker, Thomas M., 1996. "Optimal bandwidth choice for density-weighted averages," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 291-316, December.
  4. Powell, James L & Stock, James H & Stoker, Thomas M, 1989. "Semiparametric Estimation of Index Coefficients," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1403-30, November.
  5. Halbert White & Karim Chalak, 2008. "Identifying Structural Effects in Nonseparable Systems Using Covariates," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 734, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Su, Liangjun & White, Halbert, 2007. "A consistent characteristic function-based test for conditional independence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 807-834, December.
  7. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  8. Herman J. Bierens & Werner Ploberger, 1997. "Asymptotic Theory of Integrated Conditional Moment Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1129-1152, September.
  9. Robinson, Peter M, 1988. "Root- N-Consistent Semiparametric Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 931-54, July.
  10. McKinley L. Blackburn & David Neumark, 1991. "Omitted-Ability Bias and the Increase in the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 3693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Su, Liangjun & White, Halbert, 2010. "Testing Structural Change In Partially Linear Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(06), pages 1761-1806, December.
  12. Boning, Wm. Brent & Sowell, Fallaw, 1999. "Optimality For The Integrated Conditional Moment Test," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(05), pages 710-718, October.
  13. Su, Liangjun & White, Halbert, 2008. "A Nonparametric Hellinger Metric Test For Conditional Independence," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 829-864, August.
  14. Racine, Jeffrey S., 2008. "Nonparametric Econometrics: A Primer," Foundations and Trends(R) in Econometrics, now publishers, vol. 3(1), pages 1-88, March.
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