Interdisciplinary Seminar: Jerry Reiter, Duke University

How Auxiliary Information Can Help Your Missing Data Problem

Presented by Dr. Jerry Reiter, Duke University

Friday, November 5
12 p.m. ET

Many surveys (and other types of databases) suffer from unit and item nonresponse. Typical practice accounts for unit nonresponse by inflating respondents’ survey weights, and accounts for item nonresponse using some form of imputation. Most methods implicitly treat both sources of nonresponse as missing at random. Sometimes, however, one knows information about the marginal distributions of some of the variables subject to missingness. In this talk, I discuss how such information can be leveraged to handle nonignorable missing data, including allowing different mechanisms for unit and item nonresponse (e.g., nonignorable unit nonresponse and ignorable item nonresponse). I illustrate the methods using data on voter turnout from the Current Population Survey.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Jerry Reiter graduated from Duke University with a BS in mathematics in 1992. After working for two years as an actuary, he got a Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University in 1999. He landed back at Duke in the Department of Statistical Science in Fall 2002. From 2010-2015, he was the Mrs. Alexander Hehmeyer Professor of Statistical Science, having been appointed as a Bass Chair in recognition of “excellence in undergraduate teaching and research.” Dr. Reiter received the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2007, the Outstanding Postdoc Mentor award in 2016, and the inaugural Distinguished Faculty Award for the Duke Master’s in Interdisciplinary Data Science program in 2020. He participates in both applied and methodological research in statistical science. He is most interested in applications involving social science and public policy, although he enjoys working with researchers in all disciplines. His methodological research focuses on statistical methods for: protecting data confidentiality; handling missing data; combining information from multiple data sources; and modeling complex data. In 2015, The Atlantic published a story about his research on methods for protecting data confidentiality. He was also the Principal Investigator of the Triangle Census Research Network, an NSF-funded research center designed to improve the practice of data dissemination among federal statistical agencies. Until July 2019, he was the Deputy Director of the Information Initiative at Duke, an institute dedicated to research and applications in the analysis of large-scale (and not large-scale) data. He was appointed Chair of the Department of Statistical Science in 2019.