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## 5.3 Regression when X is a Binary Variable

Instead of using a continuous regressor \(X\), we might be interested in running the regression

\[ Y_i = \beta_0 + \beta_1 D_i + u_i \tag{5.2} \]

where \(D_i\) is a binary variable, a so-called *dummy variable*. For example, we may define \(D_i\) as follows:

\[ D_i = \begin{cases} 1 \ \ \text{if $STR$ in $i^{th}$ school district < 20} \\ 0 \ \ \text{if $STR$ in $i^{th}$ school district $\geq$ 20} \\ \end{cases} \tag{5.3} \]

The regression model now is

\[ TestScore_i = \beta_0 + \beta_1 D_i + u_i. \tag{5.4} \]

Let us see how these data look like in a scatter plot:

```
# Create the dummy variable as defined above
CASchools$D <- CASchools$STR < 20
# Plot the data
plot(CASchools$D, CASchools$score, # provide the data to be plotted
pch = 20, # use filled circles as plot symbols
cex = 0.5, # set size of plot symbols to 0.5
col = "Steelblue", # set the symbols' color to "Steelblue"
xlab = expression(D[i]), # Set title and axis names
ylab = "Test Score",
main = "Dummy Regression")
```

With \(D\) as the regressor, it is not useful to think of \(\beta_1\) as a slope parameter since \(D_i \in \{0,1\}\), i.e., we only observe two discrete values instead of a continuum of regressor values. There is no continuous line depicting the conditional expectation function \(E(TestScore_i | D_i)\) since this function is solely defined for \(x\)-positions \(0\) and \(1\).

Therefore, the interpretation of the coefficients in this regression model is as follows:

\(E(Y_i | D_i = 0) = \beta_0\), so \(\beta_0\) is the expected test score in districts where \(D_i=0\) where \(STR\) is below \(20\).

\(E(Y_i | D_i = 1) = \beta_0 + \beta_1\) or, using the result above, \(\beta_1 = E(Y_i | D_i = 1) - E(Y_i | D_i = 0)\). Thus, \(\beta_1\) is

*the difference in group specific expectations*, i.e., the difference in expected test score between districts with \(STR < 20\) and those with \(STR \geq 20\).

We will now use `R` to estimate the dummy regression model as defined by the equations (5.2) and (5.3) .

```
# estimate the dummy regression model
dummy_model <- lm(score ~ D, data = CASchools)
summary(dummy_model)
```

```
##
## Call:
## lm(formula = score ~ D, data = CASchools)
##
## Residuals:
## Min 1Q Median 3Q Max
## -50.496 -14.029 -0.346 12.884 49.504
##
## Coefficients:
## Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
## (Intercept) 650.077 1.393 466.666 < 2e-16 ***
## DTRUE 7.169 1.847 3.882 0.00012 ***
## ---
## Signif. codes: 0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1
##
## Residual standard error: 18.74 on 418 degrees of freedom
## Multiple R-squared: 0.0348, Adjusted R-squared: 0.0325
## F-statistic: 15.07 on 1 and 418 DF, p-value: 0.0001202
```

`summary()`reports the \(p\)-value of the test that the coefficient on

`(Intercept)`is zero to to be

`< 2e-16`. This scientific notation states that the \(p\)-value is smaller than \(\frac{2}{10^{16}}\), so a very small number. The reason for this is that computers cannot handle arbitrary small numbers. In fact, \(\frac{2}{10^{16}}\) is the smallest possble number

`R`can work with.

The vector `CASchools$D` has the type `logical` (to see this, use `typeof(CASchools$D)`) which is shown in the output of `summary(dummy_model)`: the label `DTRUE` states that all entries `TRUE` are coded as `1` and all entries `FALSE` are coded as `0`. Thus, the interpretation of the coefficient `DTRUE` is as stated above for \(\beta_1\).

One can see that the expected test score in districts with \(STR < 20\) (\(D_i = 1\)) is predicted to be \(650.1 + 7.17 = 657.27\) while districts with \(STR \geq 20\) (\(D_i = 0\)) are expected to have an average test score of only \(650.1\).

Group specific predictions can be added to the plot by execution of the following code chunk.

```
# add group specific predictions to the plot
points(x = CASchools$D,
y = predict(dummy_model),
col = "red",
pch = 20)
```

Here we use the function `predict()` to obtain estimates of the group specific means. The red dots represent these sample group averages. Accordingly, \(\hat{\beta}_1 = 7.17\) can be seen as the difference in group averages.

`summary(dummy_model)` also answers the question whether there is a statistically significant difference in group means. This in turn would support the hypothesis that students perform differently when they are taught in small classes. We can assess this by a two-tailed test of the hypothesis \(H_0: \beta_1 = 0\). Conveniently, the \(t\)-statistic and the corresponding \(p\)-value for this test are computed by `summary()`.

Since `t value` \(= 3.88 > 1.96\) we reject the null hypothesis at the \(5\%\) level of significance. The same conclusion results when using the \(p\)-value, which reports significance up to the \(0.00012\%\) level.

As done with `linear_model`, we may alternatively use the function `confint()` to compute a \(95\%\) confidence interval for the true difference in means and see if the hypothesized value is an element of this confidence set.

```
# confidence intervals for coefficients in the dummy regression model
confint(dummy_model)
```

```
## 2.5 % 97.5 %
## (Intercept) 647.338594 652.81500
## DTRUE 3.539562 10.79931
```

We reject the hypothesis that there is no difference between group means at the \(5\%\) significance level since \(\beta_{1,0} = 0\) lies outside of \([3.54, 10.8]\), the \(95\%\) confidence interval for the coefficient on \(D\).