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Statistica Sinica 32 (2022), 1489-1514


Kin Wai Chan and Xiao-Li Meng

The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Harvard University

Abstract: Multiple imputation (MI) inference handles missing data by imputing the missing values m times, and then combining the results from the m complete-data analyses. However, the existing method for combining likelihood ratio tests (LRTs) has multiple defects: (i) the combined test statistic can be negative, but its null distribution is approximated by an F -distribution; (ii) it is not invariant to re-parametrization; (iii) it fails to ensure monotonic power owing to its use of an inconsistent estimator of the fraction of missing information (FMI) under the alternative hypothesis; and (iv) it requires nontrivial access to the LRT statistic as a function of parameters instead of data sets. We show, using both theoretical derivations and empirical investigations, that essentially all of these problems can be straightforwardly addressed if we are willing to perform an additional LRT by stacking the m completed data sets as one big completed data set. This enables users to implement the MI LRT without modifying the complete-data procedure. A particularly intriguing finding is that the FMI can be estimated consistently by an LRT statistic for testing whether the m completed data sets can be regarded effectively as samples coming from a common model. Practical guidelines are provided based on an extensive comparison of existing MI tests. Issues related to nuisance parameters are also discussed.

Key words and phrases: Fraction of missing information, invariant test, missing data, monotonic power, robust estimation.

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