# Time-Series Regression and Generalized Least Squares in R

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1 Time-Series Regression and Generalized Least Squares in R An Appendix to An R Companion to Applied Regression, Second Edition John Fox & Sanford Weisberg last revision: 11 November 2010 Abstract Generalized least-squares (GLS) regression extends ordinary least-squares (OLS) estimation of the normal linear model by providing for possibly unequal error variances and for correlations between different errors. A common application of GLS estimation is to time-series regression, in which it is generally implausible to assume that errors are independent. This appendix to Fox and Weisberg (2011) briefly reviews GLS estimation and demonstrates its application to time-series data using the gls function in the nlme package, which is part of the standard R distribution. 1 Generalized Least Squares In the standard linear model (for example, in Chapter 4 of the text), y = Xβ + ε where y is the n 1 response vector; X is an n k + 1 model matrix; β is a k vector of regression coefficients to estimate; and ε is an n 1 vector of errors. Assuming that ε N n (0, σ 2 I n ) leads to the familiar ordinary-least-squares (OLS) estimator of β, with covariance matrix b OLS = (X X) 1 X y Var(b OLS ) = σ 2 (X X) 1 Let us, however, assume more generally that ε N n (0, Σ), where the error covariance matrix Σ is symmetric and positive-definite. Different diagonal entries in Σ correspond to non-constant error variances, while nonzero off-diagonal entries correspond to correlated errors. Suppose, for the time-being, that Σ is known. Then, the log-likelihood for the model is log e L(β) = n 2 log e 2π 1 2 log e(det Σ) 1 2 (y Xβ) Σ 1 (y Xβ) which is maximimized by the generalized-least-squares (GLS) estimator of β, b GLS = (X Σ 1 X) 1 X Σ 1 y with covariance matrix Var(b GLS ) = (X Σ 1 X) 1 1

2 For example, when Σ is a diagonal matrix of (generally) unequal error variances, then b GLS is just the weighted-least-squares (WLS) estimator. In a real application, of course, the error covariance matrix Σ is not known, and must be estimated from the data along with the regression coefficients β. There are, however, vastly too many elements in Σ n(n + 1)/2 distinct elements to estimate the model without further restrictions. With a suitably restrictive parametrization of Σ, the model can be estimated by maximum likelihood or another appropriate method. 2 Serially Correlated Errors One common context in which the errors from a regression model are unlikely to be independent is in time-series data, where the observations represent different moments or intervals of time, usually equally spaced. We will assume that the process generating the regression errors is stationary: That is, all of the errors have the same expectation (already assumed to be 0) and the same variance (σ 2 ), and the covariance of two errors depends only upon their separation s in time: 1 C(ε t, ε t+s ) = C(ε t, ε t s ) = σ 2 ρ s where ρ s is the error autocorrelation at lag s. In this situation, the error covariance matrix has the following structure: Σ = σ 2 1 ρ 1 ρ 2 ρ n 1 ρ 1 1 ρ 1 ρ n 2 ρ 2 ρ 1 1 ρ n 3 = σ 2 P ρ n 1 ρ n 2 ρ n 3 1 If we knew the values of σ 2 and the ρs, then we could apply this result to find the GLS estimator of β in a time-series regression, but, of course, these are generally unknown parameters. Moreover, while they are many fewer than the number of elements in the unrestricted error covariance matrix Σ, the large number (n 1) of different ρs makes their estimation impossible without specifying additional structure for the autocorrelated errors. There are several standard models for stationary time-series; the most common for autocorrelated regression errors is the first-order auto-regressive process, AR(1): ε t = φε t 1 + ν t where the random shocks ν t are assumed to be Gaussian white noise, NID(0, σ 2 ν). Under this model, ρ 1 = φ, ρ s = φ s, and σ 2 = σ 2 ν/(1 φ 2 ). Because, as a correlation, φ < 1, the error autocorrelations ρ s decay exponentially towards 0 as s increases. 2 Higher-order autoregressive models are a direct generalization of the first-order model; for example, the second-order autoregressive model, denoted AR(2), is ε t = φ 1 ε t 1 + φ 2 ε t 2 + ν t 1 Adjacent observations are taken by convention to be separated by 1 unit of time e.g., 1 year in annual time-series data. 2 For the AR(1) process to be stationary, φ cannot be equal to 1. 2

3 In contrast, in the first-order moving-average process, MA(1), the current error depends upon the random shock from the current and previous periods (rather than upon the previous regression error), ε t = ν t + ψν t 1 and higher-order MA(q) processes are similarly defined. Finally, AR and MA terms are combined in ARMA(p, q) processes; for example, ARMA(1, 1) errors follow the process ε t = φε t 1 + ν t + ψν t 1 Examining the residual autocorrelations from a preliminary OLS regression can suggest a reasonable form for the error-generating process. 3 The lag-s residual autocorrelation is r s = n t=s+1 e te t s n t=1 e2 t If the residuals were independently distributed (which they are not), the standard error of each r s would be approximately 1/ n, a quantity that can be used as a rough guide to the statistical significance of the residual autocorrelations. A more accurate approach is to calculate the Dubin- Watson statistics, n t=s+1 D s = (e t e t s ) 2 n t=1 e2 t which have a known, if complex, sampling distribution that depends upon the model matrix X. When the sample size is large, D s 2(1 r s ), and so Durbin-Watson statistics near 2 are indicative of small residual autocorrelation, those below 2 of positive autocorrelation, and those above 2 of negative autocorrelation. 3 Using The gls Function in R The gls function in the nlme package (Pinheiro et al., 2010), which is part of the standard R distribution, fits regression models with a variety of correlated-error and non-constant errorvariance structures. 4 To illustrate the use of gls, let us examine time-series data on women s crime rates in Canada, analyzed by Fox and Hartnagel (1979). The data are in the data frame Hartnagel in the car package (Fox and Weisberg, 2011): > library(car)... > Hartnagel 3 In identifying an ARMA process, it helps to look as well at the partial autocorrelations of the residuals. For example, an AR(1) process has an exponentially decaying autocorrelation function, and a partial autocorrelation function with a single nonzero spike at lag 1. Conversely, an MA(1) process has an exponentially decaying partial autocorrelation function, and an autocorrelation function with a single nonzero spike at lag 1. Of course, these neat theoretical patterns are subject to sampling error. 4 The nlme package also has functions for fitting linear and nonlinear mixed models, as described in the Appendix on mixed-effects models. 3

4 year tfr partic degrees fconvict ftheft mconvict mtheft NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA The variables in the data set are as follows: ˆ year, ˆ tfr, the total fertility rate, births per 1000 women. ˆ partic, women s labor-force participation rate, per ˆ degrees, women s post-secondary degree rate, per 10,000. ˆ fconvict, women s indictable-offense conviction rate, per 100,000. ˆ ftheft, women s theft conviction rate, per 100,000. ˆ mconvict, men s indictable-offense conviction rate, per 100,000. ˆ mtheft, men s theft conviction rate, per 100,000. We will estimate the regression of fconvict on tfr, partic, degrees, and mconvict. The rationale for including the last predictor is to control for omitted variables that affect the crime rate in general. Let us begin by examining the time series for the women s conviction rate (Figure 1): > plot(fconvict year, type="o", pch=16, data=hartnagel, + ylab="convictions per 100,000 Women") Including the argument type="o" to plot overplots points and lines, as is traditional for a timeseries graph, and pch=16 specifies filled dots as the plotting characters. 5 We can see that the women s conviction rate fluctuated substantially but gradually during this historical period, with no apparent overall trend. A preliminary OLS regression produces the following fit to the data: > mod.ols <- lm(fconvict tfr + partic + degrees + mconvict, data=hartnagel) > summary(mod.ols) Call: lm(formula = fconvict tfr + partic + degrees + mconvict, data = Hartnagel) 5 For more information on drawing graphs in R, see Chapter 7 of the text. There is a ts.plot function in the stats package in R for graphing time-series data. Though we will not bother to do so, it is also possible to define special time-series data objects in R. For more information, consult?ts. 4

5 Convictions per 100,000 Women year Figure 1: Time series of Canadian women s indictable-offense conviction rate, Residuals: Min 1Q Median 3Q Max Coefficients: Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(> t ) (Intercept) tfr e-06 partic degrees mconvict Residual standard error: 19.2 on 33 degrees of freedom Multiple R-squared: 0.695, Adjusted R-squared: F-statistic: 18.8 on 4 and 33 DF, p-value: 3.91e-08 The women s crime rate, therefore, appears to decline with fertility and increase with labor-force participation; the other two predictors have nonsignificant coefficients. A graph of the residuals from the OLS regression (Figure 2), however, suggests that they may be substantially autocorrelated: 6 > plot(hartnagel\$year, residuals(mod.ols), type="o", pch=16, + xlab="year", ylab="ols Residuals") > abline(h=0, lty=2) The acf function in the R stats package computes and plots the autocorrelation and partialautocorrelation functions of a time series, here for the OLS residuals (Figure 3): > acf(residuals(mod.ols)) > acf(residuals(mod.ols), type="partial") 5

6 OLS Residuals Year Figure 2: Residuals from the OLS regression of women s conviction rate on several predictors. Series residuals(mod.ols) ACF Lag Series residuals(mod.ols) Partial ACF Lag Figure 3: Autocorrelation and partial-autocorrelation functions for the residuals from the OLS regression of women s conviction rate on several predictors. 6

7 The broken horizontal lines on the plots correspond to 95-percent confidence limits. The general pattern of the autocorrelation and partial autocorrelation functions sinusoidal decay in the former; two spikes, one positive, the other negative, in the latter is suggestive of an AR(2) process with φ 1 > 0 and φ 2 < 0. We follow up by computing Durbin-Watson statistics for the OLS regression, using the durbin- WatsonTest function in the car package. By default, this function computes bootstrapped p -values for the Durbin-Watson statistics: 7 > durbinwatsontest(mod.ols, max.lag=5) lag Autocorrelation D-W Statistic p-value Alternative hypothesis: rho[lag]!= 0 Three of the first five Durbin-Watson statistics are statistically significant, including the first. As an alternative, the dwtest function in the lmtest package (Zeileis and Hothorn, 2002) computes the p -value for the first-order Durbin-Watson statistic analytically: > library(lmtest) > dwtest(mod.ols, alternative="two.sided") Durbin-Watson test data: mod.ols DW = , p-value = 1.392e-08 alternative hypothesis: true autocorelation is not 0 Many of the arguments for the gls function are the same as for lm in particular, gls takes model, data, subset, and na.action arguments. ˆ In gls, na.action defaults to na.fail: Missing data in a time-series in any event require special consideration. ˆ The weights argument to gls can be used to specify a model for the error variance, ˆ The correlation argument (as we will illustrate presently) can be used to specify a model for error autocorrelation. ˆ The method argument selects the method of estimation method="ml" for maximumlikelihood estimation. 8 6 There also seems to be something unusual going on during World War II that is not accounted for by the predictors, a subject that we will not pursue here. 7 See Section of the text and the Appendix on bootstrapping. 8 The default method for glm is "REML" for REstricted Maximum-Likelihood, which may be thought of as correcting for degrees of freedom. In the current illustration, REML estimation produces very different results from ML. (Try it!) To see the full range of arguments to glm, consult the on-line help. 7

8 For the Canadian women s crime data: > library(nlme) > mod.gls <- gls(fconvict tfr + partic + degrees + mconvict, + data=hartnagel, correlation=corarma(p=2), method="ml") > summary(mod.gls) Generalized least squares fit by maximum likelihood Model: fconvict tfr + partic + degrees + mconvict Data: Hartnagel AIC BIC loglik Correlation Structure: ARMA(2,0) Formula: 1 Parameter estimate(s): Phi1 Phi Coefficients: Value Std.Error t-value p-value (Intercept) tfr partic degrees mconvict Correlation: (Intr) tfr partic degres tfr partic degrees mconvict Standardized residuals: Min Q1 Med Q3 Max Residual standard error: Degrees of freedom: 38 total; 33 residual Specifying the correlation structure as correlation=corarma(p=2) fits an AR(2) process for the errors; that is, the moving-average component is implicitly of order q=0, and hence is absent. In this instance, the ML estimates of the regression parameters under the AR(2) error-correlation model are not terribly different from the OLS estimates (although the coefficient for mconvict is now statistically significant). The ML estimates of the error-autoregressive parameters are sizable, ˆφ 1 = and ˆφ 2 = We can employ likelihood-ratio tests to check whether the parameters of the AR(2) process for the errors are necessary, and whether a second-order autoregressive model is sufficient. We proceed 8

9 by updating the original gls model, respecifying the time-series process for the errors; we then compare nested models using the generic anova function, which has a method for gls objects: > mod.gls.3 <- update(mod.gls, correlation=corarma(p=3)) > mod.gls.1 <- update(mod.gls, correlation=corarma(p=1)) > mod.gls.0 <- update(mod.gls, correlation=null) > anova(mod.gls, mod.gls.1) Model df AIC BIC loglik Test L.Ratio p-value mod.gls mod.gls vs > anova(mod.gls, mod.gls.0) Model df AIC BIC loglik Test L.Ratio p-value mod.gls mod.gls vs <.0001 > anova(mod.gls.3, mod.gls) Model df AIC BIC loglik Test L.Ratio p-value mod.gls mod.gls vs An AR(3) specification would be unusually complicated, but in any event the tests support the AR(2) specification. 4 Complementary Reading and References Time-series regression and GLS estimation are covered in Fox (2008, chap. 16). GLS estimation is a standard topic in econometrics texts. There are substantial treatments in Judge et al. (1985) and in Greene (2003), for example. Likewise, ARMA models are a standard topic in the time-series literature; see, for example, Chatfield (1989). References Chatfield, C. (1989). Analysis of Time Series: An Introduction. Chapman and Hall, London, fourth edition. Fox, J. (2008). Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, second edition. Fox, J. and Hartnagel, T. F. (1979). Changing social roles and female crime in Canada: a time series analysis. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 16: Fox, J. and Weisberg, S. (2011). An R Companion to Applied Regression. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, second edition. Greene, W. H. (2003). Econometric Analysis. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, fifth edition. 9

10 Judge, G. G., Griffiths, W. E., Hill, R. C., Lütkepohl, H., and Lee, T.-C. (1985). The Theory and Practice of Econometrics. Wiley, New York, second edition. Pinheiro, J., Bates, D., DebRoy, S., Sarkar, D., and R Development Core Team (2010). Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models. R package version nlme: Zeileis, A. and Hothorn, T. (2002). Diagnostic checking in regression relationships. R News, 2(3):

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