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Logit mixture with inter and intra-consumer heterogeneity and flexible mixing distributions

Mazen Danaf, Bilge Atasoy and Moshe Ben-Akiva

Journal of choice modelling, 2020, vol. 35, issue C

Abstract: Logit mixture models have gained increasing interest among researchers and practitioners because of their ability to capture unobserved taste heterogeneity. Becker et al. (2018) proposed a Hierarchical Bayes (HB) estimator for logit mixtures with inter- and intra-consumer heterogeneity (defined as taste variations among different individuals and among different choices made by the same individual respectively). However, the underlying model relies on strong assumptions on the inter- and intra-consumer mixing distributions; these distributions are assumed to be normal (or log-normal), and the intra-consumer covariance matrix is assumed to be the same for all individuals. This paper presents a latent class extension to the model and the estimator proposed by Becker et al. (2018) to account for flexible, semi-parametric mixing distributions. This relaxes the normality assumptions and allows different individuals to have different intra-consumer covariance matrices. The proposed model and the HB estimator are validated using real and synthetic data sets, and the models are evaluated using goodness-of-fit statistics and out-of-sample validation. Our results show that when the data comes from two or more distinct classes (with different population means and inter- and intra-consumer covariance matrices), this model results in a better fit and predictions compared to the single class model.

Keywords: Logit mixture; Bayesian estimation; Latent class.; Intra-consumer heterogeneity; Flexible mixing distributions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:eejocm:v:35:y:2020:i:c:s1755534519300934

DOI: 10.1016/j.jocm.2019.100188

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