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Introduction to Monte Carlo Procedures: the

Non-parametric and Parametric Bootstrap

1. Review of the Non-parametric Bootstrap


Given a data set, say {x1 , x2 , . . . , xn } and a statistic of interest, say θ, the
basic algorithm for the non-parametric bootstrap consists of the following:
1. Resample the data with equal probability and with replacement. That
is each resampling is performed on the entire n data points, so that each
observation has probability n1 of being sampled at every resampling. For
example, for a original sample of size 5, one bootstrap sample might
be x∗ = {x4 , x1 , x3 , x2 , x2 }.
2. Calculate the statistic of interest, θ∗ = g(x∗ ), call the bth estimate θb∗ ,
and store the value in a vector.
3. Repeat (1) and (2) a large number of times.
The resulting vector of bootstrap statistics then provides an estimate of
the distribution of the statistic, by way of
1. Bootstrap estimate of the expected value:
1 X ∗
θ̂ = θ (1.1)
B b b


2. Bootstrap quantiles: Let θ[q] represent the q th quantile of the bootstrap
statistic. That is, take the vector of statistics produced by the boot-
strap procedure and rank them from smallest to largest. The ranks of
the vector then correspond to the bootstrap estimate of the quantiles of
the distribution. For example, if the number of bootstrap iterations was
1000, then, the 25th element of the ranked vector of bootstrap statistics
is the bootstrap estimate of the 0.025th quantile of the distribution of
the statistic.
3. The bootstrap estimate of the standard error
v
u B
u 1 X ¡ ∗ ¢2
se(θ)
ˆ =t θb − θ̄ (1.2)
B − 1 b=1

1
³ ´
∗ ∗
4. A (1 − α)% confidence interval is θ[B α , θ
] [B(1− α )]
2 2

Hypothesis testing and parameter estimation can then be carried out


using the bootstrap estimates. The non-parametric bootstrap will be the
best approach to inference when everything we know about the distribution
comes from the sample. In the case where we know something about the
distribution before we look at the sample, parametric approaches will give
us better results.

1.1. Inference with the Non-parametric Bootstrap


Inference with the bootstrap is a direct extension of traditional inference.

Example 1 The table below shows the results of a small experiment in which
7 mice were randomly chosen from 16 to receive a new medical treatment,
while the remaining 9 were assigned to the non-treatment group. Investiga-
tors wanted to test whether the treatment prolonged life after surgery. The
table shows the survival times in days.

Group Data n mean SD


Treatment 94,197,16,38,99,141,23 7 86.86 25.24
Control 52,104,146,10,51,30,40,27,46 9 56.22 14.14
Difference 30.63 28.93

Say we wish to test for treatment differences, and know that the median
is a better measure of the center of distribution than the mean.

How do we make inferences using the bootstrap?

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1000 bootstrapped Differences of Treatment Medians
500

450

400

350

300
frequency

250

200

150

100

50

0
−100 −50 0 50 100 150 200
median difference

Figure 1: Bootstrapped differences in the median lifetimes, in hours, of mice


receiving two different post-surgery treatments.

The bootstrap 95% confidence interval was (−29, 101). What is our con-
clusion?

2. The Parametric Bootstrap


Sometimes we know the distribution of the sample, but we cannot derive the
distribution of the statistic of interest. Sometimes we can use asymptotic
approximations, but if our sample is small these may be grossly inaccurate.
Furthermore, there are cases where the non-parametric bootstrap will fail.

Can you think of one?

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In the case where we know the distribution of the sample, but not of
the sample statistic, the parametric bootstrap often provides a powerful ap-
proach.
The basic algorithm for the parametric bootstrap is as follows:

1. Simulate a random sample of the same size as your original sample of


interest, using sample estimates for the parameters.

2. Calculate the statistic of interest, θ∗ , from the simulated sample. Save


the value in a vector.

3. Repeat (1) and (2) a large number of times.

The resulting vector then provides an estimate of the distribution of the


statistic, just as for the non-parametric case.

Example 2 Recall that the distribution of p̂ is approximately normal with


mean p and variance np(1 − p). Suppose we wish to conduct inference on a
population proportion using the exact distribution of the underlying sample
from which we calculate p̂. We know that the underlying distribution of each
of our sample observations is bernoulli with unknown parameter p. How
would we conduct the parametric bootstrap?
P
Xi
1. First calculate the sample estimate of p, which is p̂ = i
n
.

2. Then simulate a random sample of n bernoulli(p) random variables


and calculate p̂.

3. Repeat (2) a large number of times.

4. Plot a histogram, compute quantiles and confidence intervals, etc.

Below we consider one example where the non-parametric bootstrap fails


and the parametric bootstrap proves to be quite useful.

2.1. Distribution of the Sample Maximum


Let X1 , X2 , · · · , Xn be independent and identically distributed random vari-
ables whose probability distribution function (pdf) is given by f and whose
cumulative distribution function (cdf) is given by F .

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Rx
That is, P r{Xi ≤ x} = F (x) = −∞ f (x)dx ∀x. Let Y[n] = max{X1 , · · · , Xn },
in words, Y[n] is the largest value in the sample, or the sample maximum.

What are the pdf and cdf of Y ?

Gn (y) = P r{Y[n] ≤ y}
= P r{X1 ≤ y, X2 ≤ y, . . . , Xn ≤ y}
= P r{X1 ≤ y}P r{X2 ≤ y} · · · P r{Xn ≤ y}
= [F (y)]n (2.1)

The pdf, gn can be found by differentiating

gn (y) = n [F (y)]n−1 f (y) (2.2)

However, for many random variables these distribution functions are


frightfully complicated. The normal distribution for example, has no closed
form solution for the distribution of the sample maximum. We want a better
way to use the information in the sample for our inference.

Why will the non-parametric bootstrap not work for the sample max?

Example 3 The following data are a random sample of Large-mouth Bass


from a reservoir on the Savannah River Site, a former nuclear processing fa-
cility. The reservoir was used as a cooling pond for nuclear effluent through
the 1980s, receiving high levels of radioactive materials that now reside in
the sediments in the pond. It is of interest to know the probability that if
163 Bass are taken from the reservoir each year that the maximum tissue
concentration of radiocesium will exceed 30 picocuries per gram.

n min max mean SD


163 4.33 34.06 13.17 4.58

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Radiocesium Tissue Concentration in Bass from PAR Pond
45

40

35

30
frequency

25

20

15

10

0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
picocuries per gram

137
Figure 2: An approximately Normal Data set of Cs Body Burdens

How do we conduct inference using the parametric bootstrap?

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A parametric bootstrap was performed using the normal distribution for
the underlying distribution of the data. A histogram of the bootstrapped max-
imums is shown below.

Bootstrapped Maximum Radiocesium Tissue Concentrations in Bass from PAR Pond


300

250

200
frequency

150

100

50

0
20 25 30 35
picocuries per gram

Figure 3: Bootstrapped Maximum Body Burdens

There were 17 observations in the bootstrapped maximums that were above


30 picocuries per gram.

What is the bootstrap estimate of the probability that the maximum body bur-
den in a sample of size 163 will exceed 30 picocuries per gram?

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2.2. Code for Non-parametric Bootstrap Two Sample
Inference
treatment = [94,197,16,38,99,141,23];

control = [52,104,146,10,51,30,40,27,46];

B=1000; mediantreat=zeros(B,1);
mediancontrol=zeros(B,1);
medianDiff=zeros(B,1);

boottreat=zeros(length(treatment),1);
bootcontrol=zeros(length(control),1);

for b=1:B

for j=1:length(treatment);
pick=unidrnd(length(treatment));
boottreat(j)=treatment(pick);
end

for k=1:length(control);
pick=unidrnd(length(control));
bootcontrol(k)=control(pick);

end
mediantreat(b) = median(boottreat);
mediancontrol(b) = median(bootcontrol);

medianDiff(b) = mediantreat(b)-mediancontrol(b);

end

hist(medianDiff);
title(’1000 bootstrapped Differences of Treatment Medians’)
xlabel(’median difference’)
ylabel(’frequency’)

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sortmedian=sort(medianDiff);
BSCI=[sortmedian(25),sortmedian(975)];

2.3. Code for Parametric Bootstrap of the Sample Max-


imum

hist(bass);
title(’Radiocesium Tissue Concentrations in Bass from PAR Pond’);
xlabel(’picocuries per gram’);
ylabel(’frequency’);

mu = mean(bass);
sigma = sqrt(var(bass));
B=1000;
maxbass=zeros(B,1);

for b=1:B

basspboot = randn(length(bass),1)*sigma + mu;

maxbass(b)=max(basspboot);

end

hist(maxbass);
title(’Bootstrapped Maximum Radiocesium Tissue Concentrations
in Bass from PAR Pond’);
xlabel(’picocuries per gram’);
ylabel(’frequency’);

Count30=zeros(B,1);

for j=1:B

if maxbass(j)>=30, Count30(j)=1;

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end
end

p30=sum(Count30)/B;

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