On a Robust MaxEnt Process Regression Model with Sample-Selection

Entropy (Basel). 2018 Apr 9;20(4):262. doi: 10.3390/e20040262.


In a regression analysis, a sample-selection bias arises when a dependent variable is partially observed as a result of the sample selection. This study introduces a Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) process regression model that assumes a MaxEnt prior distribution for its nonparametric regression function and finds that the MaxEnt process regression model includes the well-known Gaussian process regression (GPR) model as a special case. Then, this special MaxEnt process regression model, i.e., the GPR model, is generalized to obtain a robust sample-selection Gaussian process regression (RSGPR) model that deals with non-normal data in the sample selection. Various properties of the RSGPR model are established, including the stochastic representation, distributional hierarchy, and magnitude of the sample-selection bias. These properties are used in the paper to develop a hierarchical Bayesian methodology to estimate the model. This involves a simple and computationally feasible Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm that avoids analytical or numerical derivatives of the log-likelihood function of the model. The performance of the RSGPR model in terms of the sample-selection bias correction, robustness to non-normality, and prediction, is demonstrated through results in simulations that attest to its good finite-sample performance.

Keywords: Gaussian process model; Markov chain Monte Carlo; bias correction; hierarchical Bayesian methodology; robust sample-selection MaxEnt process regression model; sample-selection bias.