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Modeling the Past: A Note on the Search for Proper Form

Broder, Ivy and Litchman, Allan J. (1980) Modeling the Past: A Note on the Search for Proper Form. Social Science Working Paper, 358. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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As historians move beyond the computation of predictive measures to fashion regression models of past behavior they need to consider not only the estimation of regression parameters, but also the specification of a functional form for the model itself. The choice of a particular form for expressing the relationships among variables often has important implications for interpreting the historical issues under investigation. This paper presents methodology developed by J. B. Ramsey and other theorists for comparing distinct functional forms of a regression model according to criteria other than differences in the capacity to account for variation in the dependent variable. Ramsey's procedure directly tests the hypothesis of correctly specified functional form through scrutiny of the pattern of residuals that would be expected for properly specified models. The methodology can thus provide useful information on the choice of computing models especially when measures of explained variation are too close in value to indicate a clear preference for a given equation.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:358
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171006-154049821
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82190
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:09 Oct 2017 22:28
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:51

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