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Sandwich Boosting for Accurate Estimation in Partially Linear Models for Grouped Data

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Young, Elliot 


Single-parameter summaries of variable effects are desirable for ease of interpretation, but linear models, which would deliver these, may fit poorly to the data. A modern approach is to estimate the average partial effect -- the average slope of the regression function with respect to the predictor of interest -- using a doubly robust semiparametric procedure. Most existing work has focused on specific forms of nuisance function estimators. We extend the scope to arbitrary plug-in nuisance function estimation, allowing for the use of modern machine learning methods which in particular may deliver non-differentiable regression function estimates. Our procedure involves resmoothing a user-chosen first-stage regression estimator to produce a differentiable version, and modelling the conditional distribution of the predictors through a location-scale model. We show that our proposals lead to a semiparametric efficient estimator under relatively weak assumptions. Our theory makes use of a new result on the sub-Gaussianity of Lipschitz score functions that may be of independent interest. We demonstrate the attractive numerical performance of our approach in a variety of settings including ones with misspecification.



Journal Title

Journal of The Royal Statistical Society Series B-statistical Methodology

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Royal Statistical Society

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N031938/1)