Multiple Response Variables Regression Models in R: The mcglm Package

Wagner Hugo Bonat

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This article describes the R package mcglm implemented for fitting multivariate covariance generalized linear models (McGLMs). McGLMs provide a general statistical modeling framework for normal and non-normal multivariate data analysis, designed to handle multivariate response variables, along with a wide range of temporal and spatial correlation structures defined in terms of a covariance link function and a matrix linear predictor involving known symmetric matrices. The models take non-normality into account in the conventional way by means of a variance function, and the mean structure is modeled by means of a link function and a linear predictor. The models are fitted using an estimating function approach based on second-moment assumptions. This provides a unified approach to a wide variety of different types of response variables and covariance structures, including multivariate extensions of repeated measures, time series, longitudinal, genetic, spatial and spatio-temporal structures. The mcglm package allows a flexible specification of the mean and covariance structures, and explicitly deals with multivariate response variables, through a user friendly formula interface similar to the ordinary glm function. Illustrations in this article cover a wide range of applications from the traditional one response variable Gaussian mixed models to multivariate spatial models for areal data using the multivariate Tweedie distribution. Additional features, such as robust and bias-corrected standard errors for regression parameters, residual analysis, measures of goodness-of-fit and model selection using the score information criterion are discussed through six worked examples. The mcglm package is a full R implementation based on the Matrix package which provides efficient access to BLAS (basic linear algebra subroutines), Lapack (dense matrix), TAUCS (sparse matrix) and UMFPACK (sparse matrix) routines for efficient linear algebra in R.

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