# Most important asssumption in linear models ... and the second most

library(tidyverse)
library(mosaic)

We are following here the advise of Gelman and Hill (2007, p. 46-47).

# Validity

Quite obviously, the right predictors must be included in the model in order to learn something from the model. The “right” predictors means: avoiding the wrong ones, and including the correct ones. Easier said than done, particularly with a look to the causal inference aspects. Let’s turn to the next most important assumption.

# Additivity and linearity as the second most important assumptions in linear models

We assume that $$y$$ is a linear function of the predictors. If y is not a linear function of the predictors, we cannot expect the model to deliver correct insights (predictions, causal coefficients). Let’s check an example.

## Simulate an exponentially distributed assocation

We will only use positive values, let’s add some small value to the y’s in order they are all positive.

len <- 42  # 42 x values
set.seed(42)
x <- rep(runif(len), 30)  # each x value repeated 30 times
y <- dexp(x, rate = 5) + rnorm(length(x), mean = 0, sd = .1)  # add some noise

y <- y + 1
gf_point(y ~ x) ## Linear model

### Compute the Model as linear model (not transformed)

lm1 <- lm(y ~ x)
coef(lm1)
#> (Intercept)           x
#>    3.797730   -3.458985

### Plot it

gf_point(y ~ x) %>%
gf_abline(slope = coef(lm1), intercept = coef(lm1), color = "red") Doesn’t fit well.

### Check the linearity assumption

Actually the plot above vividly shows us that the linear model is not doing a good job. But anyhow, let’s put that in a form more typically used for checking model assumptions.

gf_point(lm1\$residuals ~ fitted(lm1)) %>%
gf_smooth() %>%
gf_lims(y = c(-3, 3)) If we had a linear trend, we should see no strong pattern whatsoever. The mean residual should jump around zero at each value of the x-axis, with the variance remaining (more or less) constant. This is not the case here.

## Second model: log-tranformed in y

gf_point(log(y) ~ x) lm2 <- lm(log(y) ~ x)
coef(lm2)
#> (Intercept)           x
#>    1.331698   -1.556101
gf_point(log(y) ~ x) %>%
gf_abline(slope = coef(lm2), intercept = coef(lm2), color = "red") Quite ok. Note that the discrepancies stem completely from the fact that we added some Gaussian noise.

gf_point(resid(lm2) ~ fitted(lm2)) %>%
gf_smooth() %>%
gf_lims(y = c(-3, 3)) Much better than the first model.