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On Markov Chain Monte Carlo Algorithms for Computing Conditional Expectations Based on Sufficient Statistics

L. K. Jones and P. J. O'Neil
Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics
Vol. 11, No. 3 (Sep., 2002), pp. 660-677
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1391118
Page Count: 18
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On Markov Chain Monte Carlo Algorithms for Computing Conditional Expectations Based on Sufficient Statistics
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Abstract

Much work has focused on developing exact tests for the analysis of discrete data using log linear or logistic regression models. A parametric model is tested for a dataset by conditioning on the value of a sufficient statistic and determining the probability of obtaining another dataset as extreme or more extreme relative to the general model, where extremeness is determined by the value of a test statistic such as the chi-square or the log-likelihood ratio. Exact determination of these probabilities can be infeasible for high dimensional problems, and asymptotic approximations to them are often inaccurate when there are small data entries and/or there are many nuisance parameters. In these cases Monte Carlo methods can be used to estimate exact probabilities by randomly generating datasets (tables) that match the sufficient statistic of the original table. However, naive Monte Carlo methods produce tables that are usually far from matching the sufficient statistic. The Markov chain Monte Carlo method used in this work (the regression/attraction approach) uses attraction to concentrate the distribution around the set of tables that match the sufficient statistic, and uses regression to take advantage of information in tables that "almost" match. It is also more general than others in that it does not require the sufficient statistic to be linear, and it can be adapted to problems involving continuous variables. The method is applied to several high dimensional settings including four-way tables with a model of no four-way interaction, and a table of continuous data based on beta distributions. It is powerful enough to deal with the difficult problem of four-way tables and flexible enough to handle continuous data with a nonlinear sufficient statistic.

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