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Log Odds and Ends

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  • Edward C. Norton

Abstract

Although independent unobserved heterogeneity—variables that affect the dependent variable but are independent from the other explanatory variables of interest—do not affect the point estimates or marginal effects in least squares regression, they do affect point estimates in nonlinear models such as logit and probit models. In these nonlinear models, independent unobserved heterogeneity changes the arbitrary normalization of the coefficients through the error variance. Therefore, any statistics derived from the estimated coefficients change when additional, seemingly irrelevant, variables are added to the model. Odds ratios must be interpreted as conditional on the data and model. There is no one odds ratio; each odds ratio estimated in a multivariate model is conditional on the data and model in a way that makes comparisons with other results difficult or impossible. This paper provides new Monte Carlo and graphical insights into why this is true, and new understanding of how to interpret fixed effects models, including case control studies. Marginal effects are largely unaffected by unobserved heterogeneity in both linear regression and nonlinear models, including logit and probit and their multinomial and ordered extensions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18252.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18252

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  1. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 2-16, January.
  2. Terza, Joseph V. & Basu, Anirban & Rathouz, Paul J., 2008. "Two-stage residual inclusion estimation: Addressing endogeneity in health econometric modeling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 531-543, May.
  3. Thomas A. Mroz & Yaraslau V. Zayats, 2008. "Arbitrarily Normalized Coefficients, Information Sets, and False Reports of "Biases" in Binary Outcome Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 406-413, August.
  4. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 27-28, January.
  5. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  6. Yatchew, Adonis & Griliches, Zvi, 1985. "Specification Error in Probit Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 134-39, February.
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