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Kneib, Thomas; Hothorn, Torsten and Tutz, Gerhard (2007): Variable Selection and Model Choice in Geoadditive Regression Models. Department of Statistics: Technical Reports, No.3 [PDF, 1MB]

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Model choice and variable selection are issues of major concern in practical regression analyses. We propose a boosting procedure that facilitates both tasks in a class of complex geoadditive regression models comprising spatial effects, nonparametric effects of continuous covariates, interaction surfaces, random effects, and varying coefficient terms. The major modelling component are penalized splines and their bivariate tensor product extensions. All smooth model terms are represented as the sum of a parametric component and a remaining smooth component with one degree of freedom to obtain a fair comparison between all model terms. A generic representation of the geoadditive model allows to devise a general boosting algorithm that implements automatic model choice and variable selection. We demonstrate the versatility of our approach with two examples: a geoadditive Poisson regression model for species counts in habitat suitability analyses and a geoadditive logit model for the analysis of forest health.

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