Proxy (statistics)
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In
statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical ...

statistics
, a proxy or proxy variable is a variable that is not in itself directly relevant, but that serves in place of an unobservable or immeasurable variable. In order for a variable to be a good proxy, it must have a close
correlation In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin wi ...

correlation
, not necessarily linear, with the variable of interest. This correlation might be either positive or negative. Proxy variable must relate to an unobserved variable, must correlate with disturbance, and must not correlate with regressors once the disturbance is controlled for.


Examples

In
social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer to the field of sociol ...

social science
s, proxy measurements are often required to stand in for variables that cannot be directly measured. This process of standing in is also known as
operationalization In research design, especially in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an ac ...
. Per-capita
gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period. List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita, GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect ...
(GDP) is often used as a proxy for measures of
standard of living Standard of living is the level of income, comforts and services available, generally applied to a society or location, rather than to an individual. Standard of living is relevant because it is considered to contribute to an individual's quality ...
or
quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public heal ...

quality of life
. Montgomery ''et al.'' examine several proxies used, and point out limitations with each, stating "In poor countries, no single empirical measure can be expected to display all of the facets of the concept of income. Our judgment is that consumption per adult is the best measure among those collected in cross-sectional surveys." Likewise, country of origin or birthplace might be used as a proxy for race, or vice versa. Frost lists several examples of proxy variables:Jim Frost
Proxy Variables: The Good Twin of Confounding Variables
22 September 2011 (retrieved 9 Nov. 2015)
Widths of tree rings: proxy for historical environmental conditions; Per-capita GDP: proxy for quality of life;
body mass index Body mass index (BMI) is a value derived from the mass ( weight) and height of a person. The BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height, and is expressed in Units of measurement, units of kg/m2, resulting from ...

body mass index
(BMI): proxy for true body fat percentage; years of education and/or GPA: proxy for cognitive ability; satellite images of ocean surface color: proxy for depth that light penetrates into the ocean over large areas; changes in height over a fixed time: proxy for hormone levels in blood.


See also

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Instrumental variableIn statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a ...
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Latent variableIn statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a ...
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Operationalization In research design, especially in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an ac ...
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Proxy (climate) In the study of past climates ("paleoclimatology"), climate proxies are preserved physical characteristics of the past that stand in for direct meteorological measurements and enable scientists to reconstruct the Climate, climatic conditions over a ...


References

* * * Statistical analysis {{econometrics-stub