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Mixtures of g-priors for Bayesian model averaging with economic applications

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  • Ley, Eduardo
  • Steel, Mark F.J.

Abstract

We examine the issue of variable selection in linear regression modelling, where we have a potentially large amount of possible covariates and economic theory offers insufficient guidance on how to select the appropriate subset. In this context, Bayesian Model Averaging presents a formal Bayesian solution to dealing with model uncertainty. Our main interest here is the effect of the prior on the results, such as posterior inclusion probabilities of regressors and predictive performance. We combine a Binomial-Beta prior on model size with a g-prior on the coefficients of each model. In addition, we assign a hyperprior to g, as the choice of g has been found to have a large impact on the results. For the prior on g, we examine the Zellner-Siow prior and a class of Beta shrinkage priors, which covers most choices in the recent literature. We propose a benchmark Beta prior, inspired by earlier findings with fixed g, and show it leads to consistent model selection. The effect of this prior structure on penalties for complexity and lack of fit is described in some detail. Inference is conducted through a Markov chain Monte Carlo sampler over model space and g. We examine the performance of the various priors in the context of simulated and real data. For the latter, we consider two important applications in economics, namely cross-country growth regression and returns to schooling. Recommendations to applied users are provided.

Suggested Citation

  • Ley, Eduardo & Steel, Mark F.J., 2012. "Mixtures of g-priors for Bayesian model averaging with economic applications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 171(2), pages 251-266.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:171:y:2012:i:2:p:251-266
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2012.06.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Feldkircher & Stefan Zeugner, 2012. "The impact of data revisions on the robustness of growth determinants—a note on ‘determinants of economic growth: Will data tell?’," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 686-694, June.
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    14. Eduardo Ley & Mark F.J. Steel, 2009. "On the effect of prior assumptions in Bayesian model averaging with applications to growth regression This article was published online on 30 March 2009. An error was subsequently identified. This not," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 651-674.
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    Keywords

    Complexity penalty; Consistency; Model uncertainty; Posterior odds; Prediction; Robustness;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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