Bagging non-differentiable estimators in complex surveys

Jianqiang C. Wang, Jean D. Opsomer and Haonan WangNote 1


Bagging is a powerful computational method used to improve the performance of inefficient estimators. This article is a first exploration of the use of bagging in survey estimation, and we investigate the effects of bagging on non-differentiable survey estimators including sample distribution functions and quantiles, among others. The theoretical properties of bagged survey estimators are investigated under both design-based and model-based regimes. In particular, we show the design consistency of the bagged estimators, and obtain the asymptotic normality of the estimators in the model-based context. The article describes how implementation of bagging for survey estimators can take advantage of replicates developed for survey variance estimation, providing an easy way for practitioners to apply bagging in existing surveys. A major remaining challenge in implementing bagging in the survey context is variance estimation for the bagged estimators themselves, and we explore two possible variance estimation approaches. Simulation experiments reveal the improvement of the proposed bagging estimator relative to the original estimator and compare the two variance estimation approaches.

Key Words:

Bootstrap; Distribution function; Quantile estimation.

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