Robust Parametric Functional Component Estimation Using a Divergence Family
Scott, David W.
Doctor of Philosophy
The classical parametric estimation approach, maximum likelihood, while providing maximally efficient estimators at the correct model, lacks robustness. As a modification of maximum likelihood, Huber (1964) introduced M-estimators, which are very general but often ad hoc. Basu et al. (1998) developed a family of density-based divergences, many of which exhibit robustness. It turns out that maximum likelihood is a special case of this general class of divergence functions, which are indexed by a parameter alpha. Basu noted that only values of alpha in the [0,1] range were of interest -- with alpha = 0 giving the maximum likelihood solution and alpha = 1 the L2E solution (Scott, 2001). As alpha increases, there is a clear tradeoff between increasing robustness and decreasing efficiency. This thesis develops a family of robust location and scale estimators by applying Basu's alpha-divergence function to a multivariate partial density component model (Scott, 2004). The usefulness of alpha values greater than 1 will be explored, and the new estimator will be applied to simulated cases and applications in parametric density estimation and regression.
Robust; Robust parametric estimation; Divergence; Divergence family