# POLI 209: Analyzing Public Opinion ```Logistic RegressionDichotomous Dependent
Variables
March 21 &amp; 23, 2011
Objectives
By the end of this meeting, participants
should be able to:
a) Explain why OLS regression is
inappropriate for dichotomous dependent
variables.
b) List the assumptions of a logistic
regression model.
c) Estimate a logistic regression model in R.
d) Interpret the results of a logistic regression
model.
The Problems with OLS and Binary
Dependent Variables
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With a dichotomous (zero/one or similar)
dependent variable the assumptions of
least squares regression (OLS) are
violated.
OLS assumes a linear relationship between
the dependent variable and the
independent variable which cannot be true
with only two categories for the
dependent variable (more of a conceptual
than a technical issue).
The Problems with OLS and Binary
Dependent Variables
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Least squares regression (OLS) assumes
normally distributed variables which with a
dichotomous dependent variable cannot be true
(a not that difficult problem).
OLS assumes that the variances of the error
terms are the same, which cannot be true for
dichotomous dependent variables. This makes
hypothesis testing very difficult (major problem).
More intuitively, regression with dichotomous
dependent variables will frequently predict
values outside of the actual range of the
dependent variable.
a) OLS is computed with a simple single
formula
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A straight linear model
Fit a line to various points
The fit will not be perfect but least squares will
compute the smallest possible difference
b) That method cannot work for
dichotomous dependent variables
Logistic Regression and Maximum
Likelihood
a) The way to compute regression with a
dichotomous dependent variables is
through a procedure known as maximum
likelihood.
b) Maximum likelihood is an iterative
process based on probability theory that
needs the use of a computer.
Logistic Regression and Maximum
Likelihood
c) Instead of fitting a single line, maximum
likelihood models are a guided trial and error
process where a set of coefficients are chosen and
a likelihood function computed.
d) From that initial function, different likelihood
functions are computed to try to get closer and
closer to the true probability of the dependent
variable.
e) When a function can get no closer to the
dependent variable’s probability the process
ends.
Logistic Regression and Maximum
Likelihood
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Logistic regression is the most commonly
used of all of the maximum likelihood
estimation methods. The other primary
method for computing models involving
dichotomous dependent variables is
probit. Generally, probit results are
comparable to logit results.
Assumptions of Logit
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It does not assume a linear relationship.
The dependent variable needs to be binary and
coded in a meaningful way. It is standard to
code the category of interest as the higher value
(for example: voter, Democrat, etc.).
All the relevant variables need to be included in
the model.
The variables in the model need to be relevant.
Error terms need to be independent.
There should be low error rates on the predicting
variables.
Assumptions of Logit
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Independent variables should not be
highly correlated with each other
(multicollinearity). This problem will
likely present as high standard errors.
There should be no major outliers on the
independent variables.
Samples need to be relatively large (such
as 10 cases per predictor). If the samples
are too small, standard errors can be very
large and in some cases very large
coefficients will also occur.
The Logit Formula
a) On first glance, the formula for logit is not all
that much different than that for OLS:
yi*=a+bx1i+bx2i+ei
b) Where Y is the dependent variable, X is the
independent variable(s), and e is the error term.
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It is important to note that Y is a probability rather
than a strict value
Also key: Y* is a transformation of Y, so you are
modeling probability indirectly. (Technical: Y* is log
of odds.)
c) The b values can be thought of like in OLS but
their intuition is somewhat different.
The Logit Formula
d) a can be thought of as a shift parameter, it
shifts the term to the left or the right.
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a &lt;0 shifts the curve to the right
a &gt;0 shifts the curve to the left
e) The value of b1 can be thought of as the
stretch parameter, it stretches the curve or
shrinks it.
f) The sign of b1 can be thought of as the
direction parameter, they determine the
direction of the curve.
A Diagram of a Logit Function: y vs. y*
Interpreting Logit Regression Results
a) Logit coefficients cannot be interpreted in
the same way as in OLS. Since the
relationship described is not a linear one, it
cannot be said that a unit change in the
change in dependent variable.
b) Logit coefficients can tell you the direction
of the relationship between the dependent
and independent variable, whether it is
statistically significant and give you a
general sense of the magnitude.
Interpreting Logit Regression Results
c) Statistical significance in logit is based on whether
the effect of the independent variable on the
dependent variable is statistically different from
zero. (Similar to OLS.)
d) Since logit coefficients lack the direct interpretation
of OLS coefficients, many people prefer to use odds
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Odds ratios show the effect of the independent variable on
the odds of the dependent variable occurring.
Values greater than 1 mean that the predictor makes the
dependent variable more likely to occur.
Values less than 1 mean that the predictor is less likely to
occur.
Example: Kentucky odds of winning pre &amp; post Kansas
Interpreting Logit Regression Results
e) Coefficients in logit are the effect of the
predictor on the log of the odds (for the
dependent variable).
f) Odds ratios remove the log component of
the coefficient and compute the effect of
the predictor on the odds of the dependent
variable occurring
Goodness of Fit-R2 Like Measures
a) Unlike linear regression, there is no intuitive
equivalent of the R2 statistic for logit models.
b) The desire to create comparable measure has led
to the creation of a variety of so called pseudo R2
measures.
c) In general, the findings are that these pseudo R2
measures perform poorly, so R doesn’t even
report them.
d) If you do calculate pseudo R2 values, you can
report it as a general sense of the fit but it does
not have the same direct interpretation as in
OLS.
Example: Interpreting Logit Results
a) Data from the 2003 Carolina poll (N=423)
b) The dependent variable is a measure of whether the
person thinks the country was heading on the right
(0) or wrong track (1)
c) The predictors are:
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Evaluation of Bush: (1)Excellent- (4)Poor
Party: (1)Democrat (2)Independent (3)Republican
Ideology: (1) Very Liberal- (5) Very Conservative
Bush
Party
Ideology
Constant
Coef. Std. Error
z p&gt;|z| Odds Ratio
1.49
0.17 8.82
0.00
4.44
-0.18
0.16 -1.09
0.27
0.84
0.12
0.12 1.00
0.32
1.13
-3.80
0.76 -5.03
0.00
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Example: Interpreting Logit Results
a) What do the results tell us about the relationship
between evaluations of Bush and whether or not a
person thinks the country is on the wrong track?
How sure are we of this result?
b) What do the results tell us about the relationship
between partisanship and whether or not a person
thinks the country is on the wrong track? How sure
are we of this result?
c) What do the results tell us about the relationship
between ideology and whether or not a person
thinks the country is on the wrong track? How sure
are we of this result?
Example in R
library(foreign)
use.value.labels=FALSE,to.data.frame=TRUE)
ps.are\$voted&lt;-as.numeric(ps.are\$po_4==1)
ps.are\$strength&lt;-abs(ps.are\$po_party-4)
logit.model&lt;-glm(voted~dm_income+strength,
odds.ratios&lt;-exp(logit.model\$coefficients)
summary(logit.model)
odds.ratios
(odds.ratios-1)*100
Example: Interpreting Logit Results
a) What do the results tell us about the relationship
between partisan strength and whether or not a
person voted in 2004? How sure are we of this
result?
b) What do the results tell us about the relationship
between income and whether or not a person voted
in 2004? How sure are we of this result?
What all this means for your papers…
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If your dependent variable is continuous
or has a range longer than 4, use OLS
regression. It is the simplest and the
findings are most intuitive. Even when
some of the assumptions are violated OLS
tends to be a very robust method.
dichotomous, use logit. It is simplest and
most common of the maximum likelihood
estimation methods.
What all this means for your papers…
If your dependent variable is short ordered (i. e.
less than 4 but more than 2 categories), try to
reduce the number of categories to 2 or increase
them to 4 or more
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Drop DK/NA responses
Drop middle categories (unless they are the categories
of interest)
Combine multiple categories
Split the data into two parts and run separate analyses
Create a scale to increase the range of the dependent
variable
• Other circumstances: ordered logit (beyond
the scope of this course).
For March 25
a) Turn-in your preliminary data analysis
(one copy per group).