Context-specific independence in graphical log-linear models. (English) Zbl 1348.65036

Summary: Log-linear models are the popular workhorses of analyzing contingency tables. A log-linear parameterization of an interaction model can be more expressive than a direct parameterization based on probabilities, leading to a powerful way of defining restrictions derived from marginal, conditional and context-specific independence. However, parameter estimation is often simpler under a direct parameterization, provided that the model enjoys certain decomposability properties. Here we introduce a cyclical projection algorithm for obtaining maximum likelihood estimates of log-linear parameters under an arbitrary context-specific graphical log-linear model, which needs not satisfy criteria of decomposability. We illustrate that lifting the restriction of decomposability makes the models more expressive, such that additional context-specific independencies embedded in real data can be identified. It is also shown how a context-specific graphical model can correspond to a non-hierarchical log-linear parameterization with a concise interpretation. This observation can pave way to further development of non-hierarchical log-linear models, which have been largely neglected due to their believed lack of interpretability.


65C60 Computational problems in statistics (MSC2010)
62H17 Contingency tables
62A09 Graphical methods in statistics
Full Text: DOI arXiv


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