Category Archives: Statistics

Omitted Variable Bias

The omitted variable bias is a common and serious problem in regression analysis. Generally, the problem arises if one does not consider all relevant variables in a regression. In this case, one violates the third assumption of the assumption of the classical linear regression model. The following series of blog posts explains the omitted variable bias and discusses its consequences.

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Linear Regression

A linear regression is a special case of the classical linear regression models that describes the relationship between two variables by fitting a linear equation to observed data. Thereby, one variable is considered to be the explanatory (or independent) variable, and the other variable is considered to be the dependent variable. For instance, an econometrician might want to relate weight to their calorie consumption using a linear regression model.

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Omitted Variable Bias: Violation of CLRM–Assumption 3: Explanatory Variables must be exogenous

One reason why the omitted variable leads to biased estimates is that omitting a relevant variable violates assumption 3 of the necessary assumptions of the classical regression model that states that all explanatory variables must be exogenous, i.e.

E(\epsilon_{i}|X)=0

From this post, we know that omitting a relevant variable from the regression causes the error term and the explanatory variables to be correlated.
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Omitted Variable Bias: Conclusion

The following post provides a recap of the previous posts on the omitted variable bias (Introduction, Explanation, In-depth discussion of the bias, Consequences of the omitted variable bias) and concludes with some general advise. In case you haven’t read the previous posts, you might want to start from the beginning in order to fully understand the issues related to the omitted variable bias.

All in all, the omitted variable bias is a severe problem. Neglecting a relevant variable leads to biased and inconsistent estimates. Hence, as a general advice, when you are working with linear regression models, you should pay close attention to potentially omitted variables. In particular, you should ask yourself the following questions: Continue reading Omitted Variable Bias: Conclusion