Working Paper

A one-covariate at a time, multiple testing approach to variable selection in high-dimensional linear regression models


Abstract: Model specification and selection are recurring themes in econometric analysis. Both topics become considerably more complicated in the case of large-dimensional data sets where the set of specification possibilities can become quite large. In the context of linear regression models, penalised regression has become the de facto benchmark technique used to trade off parsimony and fit when the number of possible covariates is large, often much larger than the number of available observations. However, issues such as the choice of a penalty function and tuning parameters associated with the use of penalized regressions remain contentious. In this paper, we provide an alternative approach that considers the statistical significance of the individual covariates one at a time, whilst taking full account of the multiple testing nature of the inferential problem involved. We refer to the proposed method as One Covariate at a Time Multiple Testing (OCMT) procedure. The OCMT provides an alternative to penalised regression methods: It is based on statistical inference and is therefore easier to interpret and relate to the classical statistical analysis, it allows working under more general assumptions, it is faster, and performs well in small samples for almost all of the different sets of experiments considered in this paper. We provide extensive theoretical and Monte Carlo results in support of adding the proposed OCMT model selection procedure to the toolbox of applied researchers. The usefulness of OCMT is also illustrated by an empirical application to forecasting U.S. output growth and inflation.

JEL Classification: C55; C52;

https://doi.org/10.24149/gwp290

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Part of Series: Globalization Institute Working Papers

Publication Date: 2016-11-01

Number: 290

Pages: 84 pages