Isabel Molina

Department of Statistics, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid


Small area estimation of general parameters under complex sampling designs

Isabel Molina (with Maria Guadarrama and J.N.K. Rao)
When the probabilities of selecting the individuals for the sample depend on the outcome values, we say that the selection mechanism is informative. Under informative selection, individuals with certain outcome values appear more often in the sample and therefore the sample is not rep- resentative of the population. As a consequence, usual model-based inference based on the actual sample without appropriate weighting might be strongly biased. For estimation of general non-linear parameters in small areas, we propose a model-based pseudo empirical best (PEB) method that incor- porates the sampling weights and reduces considerably the bias of the unweighted empirical best (EB) estimators under informative selection mechanisms. We analyze the properties of this new method in simulation experiments carried out under complex sampling designs, including informative selection. Our results confirm that the proposed weighted PEB estimators perform significantly better than the unweighted EB estimators in terms of bias under informative sampling, and compare favorably under non-informative sampling. In an application to poverty mapping in Spain, we compare the proposed weighted PEB estimators with the unweighted EB analogues.


Keywords: Empirical best estimator; Nested-error model; Poverty mapping; Pseudo empirical best estimator; Unit level models.