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Re: st: Interpretation of -mfx-

From   Maarten buis <>
Subject   Re: st: Interpretation of -mfx-
Date   Wed, 18 Jun 2008 11:18:36 +0100 (BST)

--- Herve STOLOWY <> wrote:
> I run -mfx- after -logit- and have some difficulties to interpret
> some of the elements displayed in the mfx output. 
> I understand the meaning of dy/dx, 95% CI and X. However, I don't
> know how to read the z and associated p-value. What is the underlying
> test? 

The standard error is the standard error of dy/dx. The z is the test
statistic of the test that dy/dx equals zero, and the reported p-value
is its p-value.

> Is the Std. Err. an important element to display? In other
> terms, if you want to present some of the elements of the output in a
> paper, which ones would you chose? dy/dx? Std. Err? z? p(z)? CI? X?

This is largely a matter of style. What you want is report the point
estimate (dy/dx) and some measure of uncertainty, this could be either
the standard error, the z, or the CI. 

It sounds a bit weird to report the z, but in fact it usually more
convenient for the reader than reporting the standard error. Think
about how you would interpret a table with coefficients and standard
errors: you would look for each coefficient whether the coefficient is
less than twice the standard error or not. If you report the z-value
all they need to do is look at whether the reported z-value is less
than 2 or not. It does not really matter which one of these three you
choose because it is pretty easy to recover the other statics from any
one of these (in combination with the point estimate).

Some people would only report the p-value. The problem here is that
recovering the other statistics from the p-value is much harder, as
usually substantial rounding takes place. Even worse is only reporting
whether or not a coefficient is significant or not (so-called "gazing
at the stars"). Now it is completely impossible to recover any of the
other statistics.

Anyhow, the choice of what to report is usualy not yours to make, as
most journals have pretty strict guidelines on what you should report.

-- Maarten 

Maarten L. Buis
Department of Social Research Methodology
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

visiting address:
Buitenveldertselaan 3 (Metropolitan), room Z434

+31 20 5986715

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