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The debiased Whittle likelihood

Olhede, S; Sykulski, A; Lilly, J; Early, J; Guillaumin, A; (2019) The debiased Whittle likelihood. Biometrika 10.1093/biomet/asy071. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The Whittle likelihood is a widely used and computationally efficient pseudolikelihood. However, it is known to produce biased parameter estimates with finite sample sizes for large classes of models. We propose a method for debiasing Whittle estimates for second-order stationary stochastic processes. The debiased Whittle likelihood can be computed in the same O(n log n) operations as the standard Whittle approach. We demonstrate the superior performance of our method in simulation studies and in application to a large-scale oceanographic dataset, where in both cases the debiased approach reduces bias by up to two orders of magnitude, achieving estimates that are close to those of the exact maximum likelihood, at a fraction of the computational cost. We prove that the method yields estimates that are consistent at an optimal convergence rate of n−1/2 for Gaussian processes and for certain classes of non-Gaussian or nonlinear processes. This is established under weaker assumptions than in the standard theory, and in particular the power spectral density is not required to be continuous in frequency. We describe how the method can be readily combined with standard methods of bias reduction, such as tapering and differencing, to further reduce bias in parameter estimates.

Type: Article
Title: The debiased Whittle likelihood
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/biomet/asy071
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/biomet/asy071
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Computational efficiency; Fast Fourier transform; Frequency domain; Parameter estimation; Pseudolikelihood.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069159
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