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The Spatial Probit Model of Interdependent Binary Outcomes: Estimation, Interpretation, and Presentation
Franzese, Robert
Hays, Jude

Uploaded 07-20-2007
Keywords Spatial Probit
Bayesian Gibbs-Sampler Estimator
Recursive Importance-Sampling Estimator
Abstract We have argued and shown elsewhere the ubiquity and prominence of spatial interdependence in political science research and noted that much previous practice has neglected this interdependence or treated it solely as nuisance to the serious detriment of sound inference. Previously, we considered only linear-regression models of spatial and/or spatio-temporal interdependence. In this paper, we turn to binary-outcome models. We start by stressing the ubiquity and centrality of interdependence in binary outcomes of interest to political and social scientists and note that, again, this interdependence has been ignored in most contexts where it likely arises and that, in the few contexts where it has been acknowledged, the endogeneity of the spatial lag has not be recognized. Next, we explain some of the severe challenges for empirical analysis posed by spatial interdependence in binary-outcome models, and then we follow recent advances in the spatial-econometric literature to suggest Bayesian or recursive-importance-sampling (RIS) approaches for tackling estimation. In brief and in general, the estimation complications arise because among the RHS variables is an endogenous weighted spatial-lag of the unobserved latent outcome, y*, in the other units; Bayesian or RIS techniques facilitate the complicated nested optimization exercise that follows from that fact. We also advance that literature by showing how to calculate estimated spatial effects (as opposed to parameter estimates) in such models, how to construct confidence regions for those (adopting a simulation strategy for the purpose), and how to present such estimates effectively.

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