Predicting the Unobserved : A statistical analysis of missing data techniques for binary classification

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statistiska institutionen

Abstract: The aim of the thesis is to investigate how the classification performance of random forest and logistic regression differ, given an imbalanced data set with MCAR missing data. The performance is measured in terms of accuracy and sensitivity. Two analyses are performed: one with a simulated data set and one application using data from the Swedish population registries. The simulation study is created to have the same class imbalance at 1:5. The missing values are handled using three different techniques: complete case analysis, predictive mean matching and mean imputation. The thesis concludes that logistic regression and random forest are on average equally accurate, with some instances of random forest outperforming logistic regression. Logistic regression consistently outperforms random forest with regards to sensitivity. This implies that logistic regression may be the best option for studies where the goal is to accurately predict outcomes in the minority class. None of the missing data techniques stood out in terms of performance.

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