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Re: st: Poisson vs. Linear regression for comparing rates

From   Maarten buis <>
Subject   Re: st: Poisson vs. Linear regression for comparing rates
Date   Wed, 5 Aug 2009 01:55:43 +0000 (GMT)

--- On Wed, 5/8/09, Ashwin Ananthakrishnan wrote:
> I'm trying to do a state-level analysis looking at rates of
> a particular cancer and it's relationship to some
> state-level variables such as proportion uninsured in the
> state, racial composition of the state and some other
> state-level economic variables. 
> However, I'm not sure if I should be using Poisson
> regression or Linear regression to assess the relationship
> between the rate of cancer (independent variable) and the
> dependent variables.
> What determines which regression model is the best? 

The bigger problem here is that the effects on the state level
say very little or nothing about the effects on the individual
level. These effects could easily be exactly opposite! For 
example, rich states in the US (east and west coast states) are
more likely to vote Democrat, but this does not mean that rich
people are more likely to vote Democrat, they are actually 
more likely to vote Republican. This is known as the Ecological
Fallacy. For a short description and references see: .

Hope this helps,

Maarten L. Buis
Institut fuer Soziologie
Universitaet Tuebingen
Wilhelmstrasse 36
72074 Tuebingen


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