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Stat Med. 2013 Sep 30;32(22):3944-54. doi: 10.1002/sim.5834. Epub 2013 May 6.

Variable selection in monotone single-index models via the adaptive LASSO.

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Department of Biostatistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, U.S.A.


We consider the problem of variable selection for monotone single-index models. A single-index model assumes that the expectation of the outcome is an unknown function of a linear combination of covariates. Assuming monotonicity of the unknown function is often reasonable and allows for more straightforward inference. We present an adaptive LASSO penalized least squares approach to estimating the index parameter and the unknown function in these models for continuous outcome. Monotone function estimates are achieved using the pooled adjacent violators algorithm, followed by kernel regression. In the iterative estimation process, a linear approximation to the unknown function is used, therefore reducing the situation to that of linear regression and allowing for the use of standard LASSO algorithms, such as coordinate descent. Results of a simulation study indicate that the proposed methods perform well under a variety of circumstances and that an assumption of monotonicity, when appropriate, noticeably improves performance. The proposed methods are applied to data from a randomized clinical trial for the treatment of a critical illness in the intensive care unit.


adaptive LASSO; isotonic regression; kernel estimator; single-index models; variable selection

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