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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Huang, Meng & Sun, Yixiao & White, Hal, 2013. "A Flexible Nonparametric Test for Conditional Independence," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3pt89204, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt3pt89204
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yu-Chin Hsu & Ta-Cheng Huang & Haiqing Xu, 2018. "Testing for unobserved heterogeneous treatment effects in a nonseparable model with endogenous selection," Papers 1803.07514, arXiv.org.
    2. Su, Liangjun & White, Halbert, 2014. "Testing conditional independence via empirical likelihood," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 182(1), pages 27-44.
    3. Lu, Xun & White, Habert, 2015. "Testing For Treatment Dependence Of Effects Of A Continuous Treatment," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(5), pages 1016-1053, October.
    4. Daniel Wilhelm, 2018. "Testing for the presence of measurement error," CeMMAP working papers CWP45/18, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Hoderlein, Stefan & Su, Liangjun & White, Halbert & Yang, Thomas Tao, 2016. "Testing for monotonicity in unobservables under unconfoundedness," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 193(1), pages 183-202.
    6. Lu, Xun & White, Halbert, 2014. "Testing for separability in structural equations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 182(1), pages 14-26.
    7. Young Jun Lee & Daniel Wilhelm, 2020. "Testing for the presence of measurement error in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 20(2), pages 382-404, June.
    8. Su, Liangjun & Zheng, Xin, 2017. "A martingale-difference-divergence-based test for specification," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 162-167.

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