Nonparametric Bayes Factors Based On Empirical Likelihood Ratios

Albert Vexler, Wei Deng, Gregory E Wilding
Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 2013 March 1, 143 (3): 611-620
Bayes methodology provides posterior distribution functions based on parametric likelihoods adjusted for prior distributions. A distribution-free alternative to the parametric likelihood is use of empirical likelihood (EL) techniques, well known in the context of nonparametric testing of statistical hypotheses. Empirical likelihoods have been shown to exhibit many of the properties of conventional parametric likelihoods. In this article, we propose and examine Bayes factors (BF) methods that are derived via the EL ratio approach. Following Kass & Wasserman [10], we consider Bayes factors type decision rules in the context of standard statistical testing techniques. We show that the asymptotic properties of the proposed procedure are similar to the classical BF's asymptotic operating characteristics. Although we focus on hypothesis testing, the proposed approach also yields confidence interval estimators of unknown parameters. Monte Carlo simulations were conducted to evaluate the theoretical results as well as to demonstrate the power of the proposed test.

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