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Nonparametric Empirical Bayes Inference

Friday, February 11, 2022 - 11:00 to 12:00
Nikolaos Ignatiadis, PhD Student, Department of Statistics, Stanford University
Statistics Seminar

To join via Zoom: To join this seminar, please request Zoom connection details from headsec [at]

Title: Nonparametric Empirical Bayes Inference

Abstract: In an empirical Bayes analysis, we use data from repeated sampling to imitate inferences made by an oracle Bayesian with extensive knowledge of the data-generating distribution. Existing results provide a comprehensive characterization of when and why empirical Bayes point estimates accurately recover oracle Bayes behavior. In the first part of this talk, we construct flexible and practical nonparametric confidence intervals that provide asymptotic frequentist coverage of empirical Bayes estimands, such as the posterior mean and the local false sign rate. From a methodological perspective, we build upon results on affine minimax estimation, and our coverage statements hold even when estimands are only partially identified or when empirical Bayes point estimates converge very slowly. In the second part of the talk, we apply these ideas to study randomization-based inference for treatment effects in the regression discontinuity design under a model where the running variable has exogenous measurement error.