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A tractable estimator for general mixed multinomial logit models

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  • Jonathan James

Abstract

The mixed logit is a framework for incorporating unobserved heterogeneity in discrete choice models in a general way. These models are difficult to estimate because they result in a complicated incomplete data likelihood. This paper proposes a new approach for estimating mixed logit models. The estimator is easily implemented as iteratively re-weighted least squares: the well known solution for complete data likelihood logits. The main benefit of this approach is that it requires drastically fewer evaluations of the simulated likelihood function, making it significantly faster than conventional methods that rely on numerically approximating the gradient. The method is rooted in a generalized expectation and maximization (GEM) algorithm, so it is asymptotically consistent, efficient, and globally convergent.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan James, 2012. "A tractable estimator for general mixed multinomial logit models," Working Paper 1219, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nielsen, Soren Feodor, 2000. "On simulated EM algorithms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 267-292, June.
    2. Peter Arcidiacono & John Bailey Jones, 2003. "Finite Mixture Distributions, Sequential Likelihood and the EM Algorithm," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 933-946, May.
    3. Dankmar Böhning & Bruce Lindsay, 1988. "Monotonicity of quadratic-approximation algorithms," Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Springer;The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, vol. 40(4), pages 641-663, December.
    4. Dankmar Böhning, 1992. "Multinomial logistic regression algorithm," Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Springer;The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, vol. 44(1), pages 197-200, March.
    5. Bernal, Raquel & Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Quasi-structural estimation of a model of childcare choices and child cognitive ability production," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 164-189, May.
    6. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, April.
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    Keywords

    Econometrics ; Econometric models;

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