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A Bayesian mixed logit-probit model for multinomial choice

  • Martin Burda
  • Matthew Harding

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Stanford University)

  • Jerry Hausman

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

In this paper we introduce a new flexible mixed model for multinomial discrete choice where the key individual- and alternative-specific parameters of interest are allowed to follow an assumption-free nonparametric density specification while other alternative-specific coefficients are assumed to be drawn from a multivariate normal distribution which eliminates the independence of irrelevant alternatives assumption at the individual level. A hierarchical specification of our model allows us to break down a complex data structure into a set of submodels with the desired features that are naturally assembled in the original system. We estimate the model using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique with a multivariate Dirichlet Process (DP) prior on the coefficients with nonparametrically estimated density. We employ a "latent class" sampling algorithm which is applicable to a general class of models including non-conjugate DP base priors. The model is applied to supermarket choices of a panel of Houston households whose shopping behavior was observed over a 24-month period in years 2004-2005. We estimate the nonparametric density of two key variables of interest: the price of a basket of goods based on scanner data, and driving distance to the supermarket based on their respective locations. Our semi-parametric approach allows us to identify a complex multi-modal preference distribution which distinguishes between inframarginal consumers and consumers who strongly value either lower prices or shopping convenience.

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File URL: http://cemmap.ifs.org.uk/wps/cwp2308.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP23/08.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:23/08
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  1. Mark J. Jensen & John M. Maheu, 2009. "Bayesian Semiparametric Stochastic Volatility Modeling," Working Paper Series 23_09, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2009.
  2. Matthew Harding & Jerry Hausman, 2006. "Using a Laplace approximation to estimate the random coefficients logit model by non-linear least squares," CeMMAP working papers CWP20/06, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Susan Athey & Guido Imbens, 2006. "Discrete Choice Models with Multiple Unobserved Choice Characteristics," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001040, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Peter J. Green, 2001. "Modelling Heterogeneity With and Without the Dirichlet Process," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 28(2), pages 355-375.
  5. Markus Jochmann & Roberto León-González, 2004. "Estimating the demand for health care with panel data: a semiparametric Bayesian approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(10), pages 1003-1014.
  6. Austan Goolsbee & Amil Petrin, 2004. "The Consumer Gains from Direct Broadcast Satellites and the Competition with Cable TV," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 351-381, 03.
  7. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2, December.
  8. Chib, Siddhartha & Hamilton, Barton H., 2002. "Semiparametric Bayes analysis of longitudinal data treatment models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 67-89, September.
  9. Beggs, S. & Cardell, S. & Hausman, J., 1981. "Assessing the potential demand for electric cars," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, September.
  10. Dunson, David B., 2005. "Bayesian Semiparametric Isotonic Regression for Count Data," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 618-627, June.
  11. Imai, Kosuke & van Dyk, David A., 2005. "A Bayesian analysis of the multinomial probit model using marginal data augmentation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 311-334, February.
  12. Conley, Timothy G. & Hansen, Christian B. & McCulloch, Robert E. & Rossi, Peter E., 2008. "A semi-parametric Bayesian approach to the instrumental variable problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 276-305, May.
  13. Keisuke Hirano, 2002. "Semiparametric Bayesian Inference in Autoregressive Panel Data Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 781-799, March.
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