(Reposting after changing some things and the title: standard error for glm: R and theory arent agreeing)

I was trying to work out by hand the standard errors for an exponential glm (gamma distn with dispersion=1) with a log link ($\log\mu=\beta_0 + \beta_1 x$).

I'm getting some contradictions. by hand I do this:

exponential has prob function $f = (1/\mu) \exp(-y/\mu)$, so log-likelihood is $\ell = -\sum \log\mu + (y/\mu)$. That means $d\ell/d\mu = \sum (y-\mu)/\mu^2$.


  • $\partial\ell/\partial\beta_0 = \sum (y-\mu)/\mu$ and
  • $\partial\ell/\partial\beta_0 = \sum x(y-\mu)/\mu$.

so using the chain rule the information matrix bits are:

  • $\partial^2\ell/\partial\beta_0^2 = \sum y/\mu$
  • $\partial^2\ell/\partial\beta_1^2 = \sum x^2y/\mu$
  • $\partial^2\ell/\partial\beta_0\beta_1 = \sum xy/\mu$

I tried to see if that worked in a numerical example in R.

in R:

data(trees) # comes with R

y <- trees$Volume
x <- trees$Girth

### in r:
mm <- glm(y ~ x, family=Gamma(link=log))
InfMat.R <- solve(summary(mm, dispersion=1)$cov.unscaled)

### by hand
lb0b0 <- sum( y       / fitted(mm)) 
lb0b1 <- sum( y * x   / fitted(mm)) 
lb1b1 <- sum( y * x^2 / fitted(mm)) 

InfMat.me <- array( dim=c(2,2))
InfMat.me[1,1] <- lb0b0
InfMat.me[1, 2] <- InfMat.me[2, 1] <- lb0b1
InfMat.me[2, 2] <- lb1b1

InfMat.R # what r gives me
InfMat.me # when I do it ny hand

the two information matrices are so close to being the same:

> InfMat.R
            (Intercept)       x
(Intercept)        31.0  410.70 
x                 410.7 5736.55
> InfMat.me
      [,1]     [,2]
[1,]  31.0  410.700
[2,] 410.7 5718.696

So it is only element (2,2) that differs. and the rest are right. It seems odd that I can get all the bits right except one.

Can anyone explain what I'm doing wrong?

  • $\begingroup$ Are your derivations assuming the $x$ is centered? $\endgroup$ – AdamO Nov 27 '17 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ Please don't repost modifications of your questions--that just litters our site with duplicates. See our help center for more information about how this site works. $\endgroup$ – whuber Nov 27 '17 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ how does centering change things? i didn't center in the hand calculations. but wouldn't that change all the bits in the info matrix? why is only (2,2) different? $\endgroup$ – Wiggin Peters Nov 27 '17 at 23:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.