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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 modeling, where we have a potentially large amount of possible covariates and economic theory offers insufficient guidance on how to select the appropriate subset. 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. 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., 2010. "Mixtures of g-priors for Bayesian model averaging with economic applications," MPRA Paper 26941, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26941
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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.
    2. Li, Mingliang & Tobias, Justin, 2004. "Returns to Schooling and Bayesian Model Averaging: A Union of Two Literatures," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12011, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. David J. Nott & Robert Kohn, 2005. "Adaptive sampling for Bayesian variable selection," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 92(4), pages 747-763, December.
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    5. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark F. J. Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 563-576.
    6. Antonio Ciccone & Marek Jarociński, 2010. "Determinants of Economic Growth: Will Data Tell?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 222-246, October.
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    8. 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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    10. Theo S. Eicher & Chris Papageorgiou & Adrian E. Raftery, 2011. "Default priors and predictive performance in Bayesian model averaging, with application to growth determinants," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 30-55, January/F.
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    14. Ley, Eduardo & Steel, Mark F. J., 2007. "On the effect of prior assumptions in Bayesian model averaging with applications to growth regression," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4238, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consistency; Model uncertainty; Posterior odds; Prediction; Robustness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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