Survey Methodology
Bayesian predictive inference of a proportion under a two‑fold small area model with heterogeneous correlations

by Danhyang Lee, Balgobin Nandram and Dalho KimNote 1

  • Release date: June 22, 2017


We use a Bayesian method to infer about a finite population proportion when binary data are collected using a two-fold sample design from small areas. The two-fold sample design has a two-stage cluster sample design within each area. A former hierarchical Bayesian model assumes that for each area the first stage binary responses are independent Bernoulli distributions, and the probabilities have beta distributions which are parameterized by a mean and a correlation coefficient. The means vary with areas but the correlation is the same over areas. However, to gain some flexibility we have now extended this model to accommodate different correlations. The means and the correlations have independent beta distributions. We call the former model a homogeneous model and the new model a heterogeneous model. All hyperparameters have proper noninformative priors. An additional complexity is that some of the parameters are weakly identified making it difficult to use a standard Gibbs sampler for computation. So we have used unimodal constraints for the beta prior distributions and a blocked Gibbs sampler to perform the computation. We have compared the heterogeneous and homogeneous models using an illustrative example and simulation study. As expected, the two-fold model with heterogeneous correlations is preferred.

Key Words: Blocked Gibbs sampler; Hierarchical Bayesian model; Intracluster and intercluster correlations; Goodness of fit; Unimodality; Weakly identifiable.

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How to cite

Lee, D., Nandram, B. and Kim, D. (2017). Bayesian predictive inference of a proportion under a two‑fold small area model with heterogeneous correlations. Survey Methodology, Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 12-001-X, Vol. 43, No. 1. Paper available at‑001‑x/2017001/article/14822-eng.htm.


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