Statistics Colloquium: Dr. Mike Fay
Title: Combining One-Sample Confidence Procedures for Inference in the Two-Sample Case
Abstract: We present a simple general method for combining two one-sample confidence procedures to obtain inferences in the two-sample problem. Some applications give striking connections to established methods; for example, combining exact binomial confidence procedures gives new confidence intervals on the difference or ratio of proportions that match inferences using Fisher’s exact test, and numeric studies show the associated confidence intervals bound the type I error rate. Combining exact one-sample Poisson confidence procedures recreates standard confidence intervals on the ratio, and introduces new ones for the difference. Combining confidence procedures associated with one-sample t-tests recreates the Behrens–Fisher intervals. Other applications provide new confidence intervals with fewer assumptions than previously needed. For example, the method creates new confidence intervals on the difference in medians that do not require shift and continuity assumptions. We create a new confidence interval for the difference between two survival distributions at a fixed time point when there is independent censoring by combining the recently developed beta product confidence procedure for each single sample. The resulting interval is designed to guarantee coverage regardless of sample size or censoring distribution, and produces equivalent inferences to Fisher’s exact test when there is no censoring. We show theoretically that when combining intervals asymptotically equivalent to normal intervals, our method has asymptotically accurate coverage. Importantly, all situations studied suggest guaranteed nominal coverage for our new interval whenever the original confidence procedures themselves guarantee coverage.