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Activity Number: 307
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Epidemiology
Abstract #319183 View Presentation
Title: Optimal Point Estimates and Credible Intervals for Ranking County Health Indices
Author(s): Ronald Gangnon* and Patricia Jewett
Companies: University of Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin - Madison
Keywords: ranking ; loss functions

It is fairly common to rank different geographic units, e.g. counties in the United States, based on health indices. In a typical application, point estimates of the health indices are obtained for each county, and the indices are then simply ranked as if they were known constants. Several authors have considered optimal rank estimators under squared error loss on the rank scale. While computationally convenient, squared error loss on the rank scale may not represent the true inferential goals of rank consumers. We construct alternative loss functions based on three components: (1) the inferential goal (rank position or pairwise comparisons), (2) the scale (original, log-transformed or rank) and (3) the (positional or pairwise) loss function (0/1, squared error or absolute error). We can obtain optimal ranks for loss functions based on rank positions and nearly optimal ranks for loss functions based on pairwise comparisons paired with highest posterior density (HPD) credible intervals. We compare inferences produced by the various ranking methods, both optimal and heuristic, using low birth weight data for counties in the Midwestern United States, 2006-2012.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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