Distance-based tree models for ranking data
Ranking data has applications in different fields of studies, like marketing, psychology and politics. Over the years, many models for ranking data have been developed. Among them, distance-based ranking models, which originate from the classical rank correlations, postulate that the probability of observing a ranking of items depends on the distance between the observed ranking and a modal ranking. The closer to the modal ranking, the higher the ranking probability is. However, such a model basically assumes a homogeneous population and does not incorporate the presence of covariates. To overcome these limitations, we combine the strength of a tree model and the existing distance-based models to build a model that can handle more complexity and improve prediction accuracy. We will introduce a recursive partitioning algorithm for building a tree model with a distance-based ranking model fitted at each leaf. We will also consider new weighted distance measures which allow different weights for different ranks in formulating more flexible distance-based tree models. Finally, we will apply the proposed methodology to analyze a ranking dataset of Inglehart's items collected in the 1999 European Values Studies.
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