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I have counts over time (yearly), but I can't do panel analysis because of a time-related sampling bias, i.e. my data appears trended but I think it is because of a sampling bias, not a real underlying trend. Hence, I've decided to take the historical average of the variables instead.

My yearly data is very skewed: a few very high counts vs many very low counts. It fits the assumptions for a negative binomial distribution, i.e. the variance is much greater than the mean and I've been recommended to apply a negative binomial regression.

However, once averaged over time, my data does not take the form of integers any more, although it still displays the same skewness. Can I still apply a negative binomial regression to the averaged data?

My independent variables are continuous variables, which I can average.

I find a partial answer but it doesn't clarify if averaging over time is neutral for negbin.

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