Gauss–Markov theorem

Gauss–Markov theorem

:"This article is not about Gauss–Markov processes."

In statistics, the Gauss–Markov theorem, named after Carl Friedrich Gauss and Andrey Markov, states that in a linear model in which the errors have expectation zero and are uncorrelated and have equal variances, a best linear unbiased estimator (BLUE) of the coefficients is given by the least-squares estimator. The errors are "not" assumed to be normally distributed, nor are they assumed to be independent (but only uncorrelated — a weaker condition), nor are they assumed to be identically distributed (but only having zero mean and equal variances).


Suppose we have

:Y_i=sum_{j=1}^{K}eta_j X_{ij}+varepsilon_i

for "i" = 1, . . ., "n", where "β" "j" are non-random but unobservable parameters, "Xij" are non-random and observable (called the "explanatory variables"), "ε" "i" are random , and so "Y" "i" are random. The random variables "ε" "i" are called the "errors" (not to be confused with "residuals"; see errors and residuals in statistics). Note that to include a constant in the model above, one can choose to include the "XiK" = 1.

The Gauss–Markov assumptions state that

*{ m E}left(varepsilon_i ight)=0,
*{ m Var}left(varepsilon_i ight)=sigma^2(i.e., all errors have the same variance; that is "homoscedasticity"), and
*{ m Cov}left(varepsilon_i,varepsilon_j ight)=0

for "i" ≠ "j"; that is "uncorrelatedness." A linear estimator of "β" "j" is a linear combination

:widehateta_j = c_{1j}Y_1+cdots+c_{nj}Y_n

in which the coefficients "cij" are not allowed to depend on the earlier coefficients "β", since those are not observable, but are allowed to depend on "X", since this data is observable, and whose expected value remains "β" "j" even if the values of "X" change. (The dependence of the coefficients on "X" is typically nonlinear; the estimator is linear in "Y" and hence in "ε" which is random; that is why this is "linear" regression.) The estimator is unbiased iff

:{ m E}(widehateta_j)=eta_j.,

Now, let sum_{j=1}^Klambda_jeta_j be some linear combination of the coefficients. Then the mean squared error of the corresponding estimation is defined as

:{ m E} left(sum_{j=1}^Klambda_j(widehateta_j-eta_j)^2 ight)

i.e., it is the expectation of the square of the difference between the estimator and the parameter to be estimated. (The mean squared error of an estimator coincides with the estimator's variance if the estimator is unbiased; for biased estimators the mean squared error is the sum of the variance and the square of the bias.) A best linear unbiased estimator of "β" is the one with the smallest mean squared error for every linear combination "λ". This is equivalent to the condition that

:{ m Var}(widehateta)-{ m Var}( ildeeta)

is a positive semi-definite matrix for every other linear unbiased estimator ildeeta.

The ordinary least squares estimator (OLS) is the function


of "Y" and "X" that minimizes the sum of squares of residuals

:sum_{i=1}^nleft(Y_i-widehat{Y}_i ight)^2=sum_{i=1}^nleft(Y_i-sum_{j=1}^Kwidehateta_j X_{ij} ight)^2.

(It is easy to confuse the concept of "error" introduced early in this article, with this concept of "residual". For an account of the differences and the relationship between them, see errors and residuals in statistics).

The theorem now states that the OLS estimator is a BLUE. The main idea of the proof is that the least-squares estimator isuncorrelated with every linear unbiased estimator of zero, i.e., with every linear combination a_1Y_1+cdots+a_nY_nwhose coefficients do not depend upon the unobservable β but whose expected value is always zero.

Generalized least squares estimator

The GLS or Aitken estimator extends the Gauss-Markov Theorem to the case where the error vector has a non-scalar covariance matrixndashthe Aitken estimator is also a BLUE. [A. C. Aitken, "On Least Squares and Linear Combinations of Observations", "Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh", 1935, vol. 55, pp. 42–48.]

ee also

*Independent and identically-distributed random variables
*Linear regression
*Measurement uncertainty
*Best linear unbiased prediction



* Plackett, R.L. (1950) "Some Theorems in Least Squares", "Biometrika" 37: 149–157

External links

* [ Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics: G] (brief history and explanation of its name)
* [ Proof of the Gauss Markov theorem for multiple linear regression] (makes use of matrix algebra)
* [ A Proof of the Gauss Markov theorem using geometry]

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