Date of Award

Spring 4-26-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Gengsheng Qin

Abstract

Low income proportion (LIP), Lorenz curve (LC) and generalized Lorenz curve (GLC) are important indexes in describing the inequality of income distribution. They have been widely used for measuring social stability by governments around the world. The accuracy of estimating those indexes is essential to quantify the economics of a country. Established statistical inferential methods for these indexes are based on an asymptotic normal distribution, which may have poor performance when the real income data is skewed or has outliers. Recent applications of nonparametric methods, though, allow researchers to utilize techniques without giving data the parametric distribution assumption. For example, existing research proposes the plug-in empirical likelihood (EL)-based inferences for LIP, LC and GLC. However, this method becomes computationally intensive and mathematically complex because of the presence of nonlinear constraints in the underlying optimization problem. Meanwhile, the limiting distribution of the log empirical likelihood ratio is a scaled Chi-square distribution. The estimation of the scale constant will affect the overall performance of the plug-in EL method. To improve the efficiency of the existing inferential methods, this dissertation first proposes kernel estimators for LIP, LC and GLC, respectively. Then the cross-validation method is proposed to choose bandwidth for the kernel estimators. These kernel estimators are proved to have asymptotic normality. The smoothed jackknife empirical likelihood (SJEL) for LIP, LC and GLC are defined. Then the log-jackknife empirical likelihood ratio statistics are proved to follow the standard Chi-square distribution. Extensive simulation studies are conducted to evaluate the kernel estimators in terms of Mean Square Error and Asymptotic Relative Efficiency. Next, the SJEL-based confidence intervals and the smoothed bootstrap-based confidence intervals are proposed. The coverage probability and interval length for the proposed confidence intervals are calculated and compared with the normal approximation-based intervals. The proposed kernel estimators are found to be competitive estimators, and the proposed inferential methods are observed to have better finite-sample performance. All inferential methods are illustrated through real examples.

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