Locally Efficient Estimation with Current Status Data and High Dimensional Covariates


Complete text in Journal of the American Statistical Association 93, 442, 693-701, 1998.


In biostatistical applications, interest often focuses on the estimation of the distribution of time T between two consecutive events. If the initial event time is observed and the subsequent event time is only known to be larger or smaller than an observed monitoring time, then the data is described by the well known singly-censored current status model, also known as interval censored data, case I. We extend this current status model by allowing the presence of a time-dependent process, which is partly observed and allowing C to depend on T through the observed part of this time-dependent process.

Because of the high dimension of the covariate process, no globally efficient estimators exist with a good practical performance at moderate sample sizes. We follow the approach of Robins and Rotnitzky (1992) by modeling the censoring variable, given the time-variable and the covariate-process, i.e., the missingness process, under the restriction that it satisfied coarsening at random. We propose a generalization of the simple current status estimator of the distribution of T and of smooth functionals of the distribution of T, which is based on an estimate of the missingness. In this estimator the covariates enter only through the estimate of the missingness process.

Due to the coarsening at random assumption, the estimator has the interesting property that if we estimate the missingness process more nonparametrically, then we improve its efficiency. We show that by local estimation of an optimal model or optimal function of the covariates for the missingness process, the generalized current status estimator for smooth functionals become locally efficient; meaning it is efficient if the right model or covariate is consistently estimated and it is consistent and asymptotically normal in general. Estimation of the optimal model requires estimation of the conditional distribution of T, given the covariates. Any (prior) knowledge of this conditional distribution can be used at this stage without any risk of losing root-n consistency.

We also propose locally efficient one step estimators. Finally, we show some simulation results.

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