Code covered by the BSD License

# Symbolic Derivatives for Econometric Tests

### Alan Weiss (view profile)

02 Nov 2009 (Updated )

How to calculate derivatives required by Econometric Toolbox tests via Symbolic Math Toolbox

symbolic_econometric_tests.m
%% Symbolic Derivatives for Econometric Tests
%
%% Introduction to Derivatives for Econometric Tests
%
% Two Econometric Toolbox(TM) model misspecification tests,
% |lmtest| and |waldtest|, require you to provide expressions
% for derivatives as inputs. While most of us learned to compute
% derivatives in school, these computations can be tedious and
% error-prone.
%
% The Symbolic Math Toolbox(TM) |jacobian| function calculates
% derivatives of symbolic expressions. |matlabFunction| converts
% symbolic expressions into function handles or files that
% calculate numerically as if substituting values for symbolic
% variables. Between these two functions you can automate the
% calculation of derivatives and use the resulting expressions
% in econometric applications. This example shows how to include
% data in your symbolic setup, and how to use the results in
% |lmtest| and |waldtest|.
%
%% Example: Data, Hypothesis, and Basic Regression Analysis
%
% This example models the real GNP data series from the
% Nelson-Plosser data set as a loglinear series plus Gaussian
% noise. The question is whether the long-term growth rate
% might, in fact, be less than 2.9%, when the fitted model shows
%
% There are several ways of answering this question. The
% simplest is probably to use the |regress| function from
% Statistics Toolbox(TM). Load the Nelson-Plosser dataset and
% extract the real GNP series. Find the best linear fit and a
% 95% confidence interval for the coefficients of the fit.

gnp = Dataset.GNPR;
gnpr = log(gnp(not(isnan(gnp)))); % log scaled
datesr = dates(not(isnan(gnp))); % Date series
X = [ones(size(datesr)) datesr]; % include constant term in fit
alpha = 0.05;
[betahat,Ibeta] = regress(gnpr,X,alpha);
fprintf('Best slope = %4.3g\n',betahat(2))
fprintf('95%% confidence interval = [%4.3g %4.3g]',Ibeta(2,:))

%%
% The 95% confidence interval does not contain the slope 0.029.
% Therefore, this test indicates rejection of the hypothesis
% that the true slope is 2.9%.
%
% To see the results of calculating the best fitting line with
% slope 0.029, regress (gnpr - 0.29*datesr) on a constant:

x = ones(size(datesr));
[xhat Ix] = regress(gnpr-0.029*datesr,x,alpha);
gnpx = xhat + 0.029*datesr;
hold on
plot(datesr,gnpr,'bo');lsline % data points and least squares fit
plot(datesr,gnpx,'r-') % 0.029 line
legend('Data','Best linear fit','0.029 Linear fit','Location','nw')
hold off

%% Analysis using Symbolic Math Toolbox and Econometric Functions
%
% We now show how to use |lmtest| and |waldtest| to examine the
% hypothesis that the true slope is 2.9%. |lmtest| requires
% three inputs: the 'score' (gradient) at the restricted
% maximizer of the loglikelihood, a covariance estimated at this
% restricted maximizer, and the number of restrictions.
% |waldtest| requires the restriction functions and their
% Jacobian evaluated at the unrestricted maximizer, and also
% requires a covariance estimated at the unrestricted maximizer.
% To calculate the score and covariance, you need to calculate
% derivatives.
%
% There are several covariance estimates in general use. One,
% the outer product of gradients (OPG), is not very accurate for
% small data sets, but is in widespread use because it requires
% only first derivatives (gradients). This example shows how to
% compute an OPG estimate for |lmtest|. Another estimator,
% $-\rm{Hessian}^{-1}$, is often more accurate than the OPG
% estimate, but requires a second derivative. This example shows
% how to compute this estimator for |waldtest|.
%
% Now begin the process of evaluating whether the 0.029 slope is
% statistically distinguishable from the 0.031 slope.

%% Write a symbolic expression for the loglikelihood function
%
% Assume independent normal zero-mean deviates, with standard
% deviation $\sigma$. The loglikelihood of an observation $y$
% when the expected value is $\bar{y}$ is
%
% $$\log\bigg (\frac{1}{\sigma\sqrt{2\pi}}\exp\bigg (-\frac{(\bar{y}-y)^2}{2\sigma^2}\bigg )\bigg ).$$

syms a b x y real
syms sigma positive % 'real' and 'positive' aid simplification
indeps = [a b sigma]; % the decision variables, or parameters
mydata = [x y]; % symbolic variables for the data
L = 1/sqrt(sym(2)*pi*sigma^2) * exp(-(a*x+b-y)^2/(2*sigma^2));
logL = simplify(log(L)); % simplify leads to shorter expressions that compute faster

%% Call |matlabFunction| to generate a function handle for evaluating the loglikelihood
%
% Since MATLAB(R) optimization functions minimize, rather than
% maximize, use |matlabFunction| on the negative of logL.

% take negative loglikelihood since solvers minimize
llfcn0 = matlabFunction(-logL,'vars',{indeps,mydata});

% Take the sum of the loglikelihoods for the function evaluated
% at the data points
llfcn = @(x)sum(llfcn0(x,[datesr,gnpr]));

%% Call fmincon to evaluate the maximizers of the restricted and unrestricted loglikelihood
%
% Let the fitted regression line be $g(x) = \alpha x + \beta$.
% Find the maximum-likelihood regression (MLR) with $\alpha$ set
% to 0.029 (restricted) and with $\alpha$ allowed to vary
% (unrestricted). The MLR is the same as the least-squares
% regression line, so there are two ways of computing this line:
% least squares with |regress| as above, or maximum likelihood
% with |fmincon|. For generality we show how to use |fmincon|
% for these calculations.
%
% Take an initial point [.03,54,.03], because the least-squares
% solution has slope 0.031 and intercept 54.5. The starting
% value for $\sigma$, 0.03, is simply a guess. The guess is not
% very accurate, since the unrestricted maximum value turns out
% to be 0.13.
%
% For both the restricted and unrestricted maximum
% loglikelihoods, bound the variable $\sigma$ below by 0. For
% the restricted problem, bound the variable $\alpha$ above and
% below by 0.029; this restricts the variable $\alpha$ to be
% 0.029 without having to rewrite the objective function.

opts = optimset('Algorithm','interior-point','Display','off');
unrestricted = fmincon(llfcn,[.03 -54 .03],...
[],[],[],[],[-inf -inf 0],[],[],opts)
restricted = fmincon(llfcn,[.029 -54 .03],...
[],[],[],[],[.029 -inf 0],.029,[],opts)

%% Call |jacobian| to calculate the gradient and Hessian of the loglikelihood
%
% Now that we have the restricted and unrestricted maximization
% points, we calculate the gradient of the loglikelihood
% function and the Hessian. The gradient is calculated only for
% the independent variables, not for the data.

hessLL = jacobian(grad,indeps); % Symbolic Hessian

%% Call |matlabFunction| to generate a function handle for evaluating the score and covariance
%
% Recall that we need the score at the restricted maximum for
% |lmtest|, and a covariance estimate at both the restricted
% maximum (|lmtest|) and the unrestricted maximum (|waldtest|).
% We use the OPG estimator for |lmtest|, and the observed
% Hessian estimator for |waldtest|.

% gradients evaluated at the data points, restricted maximum
scorer = sum(totgradr); % the 'score' at the restricted max
% of the Hessian
hessLLhandle = matlabFunction(hessLL,'vars',{indeps,mydata});
% Calculates the Hessian for input parameters
hessum = zeros(length(indeps));
for ii = 1:length(datesr)
hessum = hessum + hessLLhandle(unrestricted,[datesr(ii) gnpr(ii)]);
% Adds the Hessians at the unrestricted maximum
% evaluated at all the data points
end
escov = -inv(hessum); % The unrestricted covariance estimate

%% Test the hypothesis with |lmtest| and |waldtest|
%
% We now have all the inputs for |lmtest|. For |waldtest|, we
% still need the value of the restriction function and its
% gradient at the unrestricted maximum. The restriction is given
% by the function $r(a)\le 0$, where $r(a) = a - 0.029$. Clearly
% r = |unrestricted|(1)  0.029, and the Jacobian of the
% gradient $R = \partial r/\partial a$ is $R = 1$. For more
% complex restriction functions, you could use |jacobian| and
% |matlabFunction| to obtain these inputs.

r = unrestricted(1) - 0.029;
R = [1 0 0]; % independent variables a,b,sigma
[hlm,pValue,stat,criticalValue] = lmtest(scorer,OLLestr,1)
[hwald,pValue,stat,criticalValue]  = waldtest(r,R,escov)
%%
% Since |hlm| and |hwald| are both 1, both |lmtest| and
% |waldtest| reject the hypothesis that the growth rate of GNP
% in the Nelson-Plosser data is only 2.9%. Note that the p-value
% for |waldtest| is almost 5%, meaning |waldtest| just barely
% rejects the hypothesis. This close call reflects the initial
% confidence interval that just barely missed a slope of 0.029.

%% Conclusion
%
% Symbolic Math Toolbox functions give straightforward ways of
% incorporating derivatives into MATLAB calculations. They speed
% the tedious, error-prone process of calculating derivatives,
% and reduce the possibility of error. They ease the use of some
% econometric functions.
%
%  2010 The MathWorks, Inc.
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