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Unlinked Monotone Regression

Fadoua Balabdaoui, Charles R. Doss, Cécile Durot; 22(172):1−60, 2021.


We consider so-called univariate unlinked (sometimes “decoupled,” or “shuffled”) regression when the unknown regression curve is monotone. In standard monotone regression, one observes a pair $(X,Y)$ where a response $Y$ is linked to a covariate $X$ through the model $Y= m_0(X) + \epsilon$, with $m_0$ the (unknown) monotone regression function and $\epsilon$ the unobserved error (assumed to be independent of $X$). In the unlinked regression setting one gets only to observe a vector of realizations from both the response $Y$ and from the covariate $X$ where now $Y \stackrel{d}{=} m_0(X) + \epsilon$. There is no (observed) pairing of $X$ and $Y$. Despite this, it is actually still possible to derive a consistent non-parametric estimator of $m_0$ under the assumption of monotonicity of $m_0$ and knowledge of the distribution of the noise $\epsilon$. In this paper, we establish an upper bound on the rate of convergence of such an estimator under minimal assumption on the distribution of the covariate $X$. We discuss extensions to the case in which the distribution of the noise is unknown. We develop a second order algorithm for its computation, and we demonstrate its use on synthetic data. Finally, we apply our method (in a fully data driven way, without knowledge of the error distribution) on longitudinal data from the US Consumer Expenditure Survey.

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