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Mixture of normals probit models

  • John F. Geweke
  • Michael P. Keane

This paper generalizes the normal probit model of dichotomous choice by introducing mixtures of normals distributions for the disturbance term. By mixing on both the mean and variance parameters and by increasing the number of distributions in the mixture these models effectively remove the normality assumption and are much closer to semiparametric models. When a Bayesian approach is taken, there is an exact finite-sample distribution theory for the choice probability conditional on the covariates. The paper uses artificial data to show how posterior odds ratios can discriminate between normal and nonnormal distributions in probit models. The method is also applied to female labor force participation decisions in a sample with 1,555 observations from the PSID. In this application, Bayes factors strongly favor mixture of normals probit models over the conventional probit model, and the most favored models have mixtures of four normal distributions for the disturbance term.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 237.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:237
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  1. Gallant, A Ronald & Nychka, Douglas W, 1987. "Semi-nonparametric Maximum Likelihood Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 363-90, March.
  2. John F. Geweke & Michael P. Keane & David E. Runkle, 1994. "Statistical inference in the multinomial multiperiod probit model," Staff Report 177, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Ichimura, H., 1991. "Semiparametric Least Squares (sls) and Weighted SLS Estimation of Single- Index Models," Papers 264, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
  4. Geweke, J, 1993. "Bayesian Treatment of the Independent Student- t Linear Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(S), pages S19-40, Suppl. De.
  5. Horowitz, Joel L, 1992. "A Smoothed Maximum Score Estimator for the Binary Response Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 505-31, May.
  6. Lewbel, Arthur, 1997. "Semiparametric Estimation of Location and Other Discrete Choice Moments," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 32-51, February.
  7. Manski, Charles F., 1985. "Semiparametric analysis of discrete response : Asymptotic properties of the maximum score estimator," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 313-333, March.
  8. Powell, James L & Stock, James H & Stoker, Thomas M, 1989. "Semiparametric Estimation of Index Coefficients," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1403-30, November.
  9. Koop, Gary & Poirier, Dale J., 1993. "Bayesian analysis of logit models using natural conjugate priors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 323-340, April.
  10. John Geweke, . "Posterior Simulators in Econometrics," Computing in Economics and Finance 1996 _019, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. repec:cup:etheor:v:13:y:1997:i:1:p:32-51 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Klein, Roger W & Spady, Richard H, 1993. "An Efficient Semiparametric Estimator for Binary Response Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 387-421, March.
  13. Zellner, Arnold & Rossi, Peter E., 1984. "Bayesian analysis of dichotomous quantal response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 365-393, July.
  14. Roberts, G. O. & Smith, A. F. M., 1994. "Simple conditions for the convergence of the Gibbs sampler and Metropolis-Hastings algorithms," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 207-216, February.
  15. Geweke, John & Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David, 1994. "Alternative Computational Approaches to Inference in the Multinomial Probit Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 609-32, November.
  16. Keane, Michael P, 1992. "A Note on Identification in the Multinomial Probit Model," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(2), pages 193-200, April.
  17. Hausman, Jerry & McFadden, Daniel, 1984. "Specification Tests for the Multinomial Logit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1219-40, September.
  18. Cosslett, Stephen R, 1983. "Distribution-Free Maximum Likelihood Estimator of the Binary Choice Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 765-82, May.
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