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Three Sides of Smoothing: Categorical Data Smoothing, Nonparametric Regression, and Density Estimation

Authors: Simonoff, Jeffrey S.
Keywords: Kernel estimator;Local likelihood estimator;Local polynomial estimator;Maximum penalized likelihood estimator;Poisson regression
Issue Date: 1997
Publisher: Stern School of Business, New York University
Series/Report no.: SOR-97-3
Abstract: The past forty years have seen a great deal of research into the construction and properties of nonparametric estimates of smooth functions. This research has focused primarily on two sides of the smoothing problem: nonparametric regression and density estimation. Theoretical results for these two situations are similar, and multivariate density estimation was an early justification for the Nadaraya-Watson kernel regression estimator. A third, less well-explored, strand of applications of smoothing is to the estimation of probabilities in categorical data. In this paper the position of categorical data smoothing as a bridge between nonparametric regression and density estimation is explored. Nonparametric regression provides a paradigm for the construction of effective categorical smoothing estimates, and use of an appropriate likelihood function yields cell probability estimates with many desirable properties. Such estimates can be used to construct regression estimates when one or more of the categorical variables are viewed as response variables. They also lead naturally to the construction of well-behaved density estimates using local or penalized likelihood estimation, which can then be used in a regression context. Several real data sets are used to illustrate these points.
Appears in Collections:IOMS: Statistics Working Papers

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