Bayesian Nonparametric Modeling for Multivariate Ordinal Regression

DeYoreo, M., and A. Kottas. Bayesian Nonparametric Modeling for Multivariate Ordinal Regression. ArXiv 1408.1027, 2014, available at
Univariate or multivariate ordinal responses are often assumed to arise from a latent continuous parametric distribution, with covariate effects which enter linearly. We introduce a Bayesian nonparametric modeling approach for univariate and multivariate ordinal regression, which is based on mixture modeling for the joint distribution of latent responses and covariates. The modeling framework enables highly flexible inference for ordinal regression relationships, avoiding assumptions of linearity or additivity in the covariate effects. In standard parametric ordinal regression models, computational challenges arise from identifiability constraints and estimation of parameters requiring nonstandard inferential techniques. A key feature of the nonparametric model is that it achieves inferential flexibility, while avoiding these difficulties. In particular, we establish full support of the nonparametric mixture model under fixed cut-off points that relate through discretization the latent continuous responses with the ordinal responses. The practical utility of the modeling approach is illustrated through application to two data sets from econometrics, an example involving regression relationships for ozone concentration, and a multirater agreement problem.