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How to see whether covariates have significance in terms of choice prediciton?

As Walter (thank you) told us, someone should add 'wisely chosen' covariates to estimate utilities within CBC/HB.  These covariates "should have significance in terms of choice prediction".  But how can I prove/check if they really improve the choice prediction/the quality of model?
related to an answer for: Covariates in CBC/HB
asked Sep 18, 2014 by Hansson (270 points)
edited Sep 18, 2014 by Walter Williams

1 Answer

+1 vote
A recent (2010 paper at the Sawtooth Software Conference) featured an  investigation of numerous types of covariates, different sorts (demographics, benefit segments, or past behavior/purchase) for 10 different commercial CBC datasets.  The authors (Kurz/Binner) found very few opportunities for significant improvement in predictive validity for any of the covariates they investigated, for any of the data sets.

The authors used held-out tasks to judge predictive validity.

So, if your desire is to improve predictive validity with covariates in HB, I think you will be facing a difficult time to find this.

Covariates, however, can improve the characterization of heterogeneity across the sample (involve less Bayesian smoothing toward the population means).  Covariates provide a theoretically more sound (according to the Bayesians) for comparing groups of respondents on the parameters.  Covariates also provide a way to better estimate individual-level models when some groups of respondents have been significantly oversampled in the sampling plan.
answered Sep 18, 2014 by Bryan Orme Platinum Sawtooth Software, Inc. (174,215 points)
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