Bayesian identification, selection and estimation of semiparametric functions in high-dimensional additive models


In this paper we propose an approach to both estimate and select unknown smooth functions in an additive model with potentially many functions. Each function is written as a linear combination of basis terms, with coefficients regularized by a proper linearly constrained Gaussian prior. Given any potentially rank deficient prior precision matrix, we show how to derive linear constraints so that the corresponding effect is identified in the additive model. This allows for the use of a wide range of bases and precision matrices in priors for regularization. By introducing indicator variables, each constrained Gaussian prior is augmented with a point mass at zero, thus allowing for function selection. Posterior inference is calculated using Markov chain Monte Carlo and the smoothness in the functions is both the result of shrinkage through the constrained Gaussian prior and model averaging. We show how using non-degenerate priors on the shrinkage parameters enables the application of substantially more computationally efficient sampling schemes than would otherwise be the case. We show the favourable performance of our approach when compared to two contemporary alternative Bayesian methods. To highlight the potential of our approach in high-dimensional settings we apply it to estimate two large seemingly unrelated regression models for intra-day electricity load. Both models feature a variety of different univariate and bivariate functions which require different levels of smoothing, and where component selection is meaningful. Priors for the error disturbance covariances are selected carefully and the empirical results provide a substantive contribution to the electricity load modelling literature in their own right.

Journal of Econometrics 143 (2)
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Anastasios N. Panagiotelis
Associate Professor of Business Analytics

My research interests include applied statistics and data science.