# How to compare the fit of two Generalized Linear Models?

If I have two OLS models with the same number of parameters, all of them zero p-value, then next thing I look at is which one has the largest $R^2$.

But in the case of GLM, how do I decide which of two models is best? (Again, assuming that both have the same number of parameters, all with zero p-value)

• P-value is never zero. What you may be looking at is all zeros as printed to the number of decimal places your software is showing. but such P-values are not zero. So, for example, 0.000 just means <0.0005. Mar 26, 2018 at 0:04
• stats.stackexchange.com/questions/68066/… and stats.stackexchange.com/questions/232471/… are two of several posts here giving a meaning to $R^2$ for GLMs. Mar 26, 2018 at 0:09
• Yes, of course, but it seemed to me that "zero p-value" would be more economical than "the p-value equals 10 to the power of minus a large number". Thanks for the links. Mar 26, 2018 at 8:50
• Good that you know, but (1) For many readers new to and/or struggling with statistics there is no "of course" about that statement (2) In several fields, notably bioinformatics, tracking very small P-values is of prime interest. Mar 26, 2018 at 9:42
• Also check AIC and BIC. Mar 26, 2018 at 10:23

You can use the generalized $$\mathbf{R^{2}}$$, proposed by Maddala for binomial models, and extended by Magee, and independently developed by Cox & Snell, but refined by Nagelkerke:

$$R^{2}_{\text{CS}} = 1 - \left(\frac{L\left(0\right)}{L(\hat{\theta})}\right)^{\frac{2}{n}}$$

where $$L(0)$$ is the likelihood of the null model (i.e. $$\text{link}(y) = \beta_{0}$$), and $$L(\hat{\theta})$$ is the model fitted on your predictors.

Nagelkerke says of the $$R_{\text{CS}}^{2}$$ "It is easily found that this definition of $$R^{2}$$ has the following properties.

1. It is consistent with classical $$R^{2}$$, that is the general definition applied to e.g. linear regression yields the classical $$R^{2}$$.

2. It is consistent with maximum likelihood as an estimation method, i.e. the maximum likelihood estimates of the model parameters maximize $$R^{2}$$.

3. It is asymptotically independent of the sample size $$n$$.

4. It has an interpretation as the proportion of explained 'variation', or rather, $$1-R^{2}$$: has the interpretation of the proportion of unexplained 'variation'. [More nuanced things in the article]

5. It is dimensionless, i.e. it does not depend on the units used.

6. Replacing the factor $$2/n$$… by $$k/n$$ yields a generalization of the proportion of the $$k$$th central moment explained by the model.

7. Let $$y$$ have a probability density $$P(y|\beta)$$, then using Taylor expansion, it can be shown that to a first order approximation, $$R^{2}$$ is the square of the Pearson correlation between $$x$$ and the efficient score of the model $$p(.)$$, that is the derivative with respect to $$\beta$$ of $$\log\left(p(y|\beta x +\alpha ) \right)$$ at $$\beta = 0$$."

However, Nagelkerke observed that the Cox-Snell formulation gives a maximum $$R^{2}<1$$, and proposed the form:

$$\overline{R}^{2}=\frac{R^{2}_{\text{CS}}}{1-L(0)^{\frac{2}{n}}}$$

which is 0 when $$L(\hat{\theta})=L(0)$$, and is 1 when the model perfectly fits the data.

References

Cox, D. R.; Snell, E. J. (1989). The Analysis of Binary Data (2nd ed.). Chapman and Hall.

Maddala, G. S. (1983), Limited-Dependent and Qualitative Variables in Econometrics, Cambridge,U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Magee, L. (1990). $$R^{2}$$ measures based on Wald and likelihood ratio joint significance tests. The American Statistician, 44(3):250–253.

Nagelkerke, N. J. D. (1991). A note on a general definition of the coefficient of determination. Biometrika, 78(3):691–692.

• Hi thanks for your answer. I guess this is the most canonical answer, but for completeness I'm linking a website that I found with multiple "pseudo R^2" alternatives: stats.idre.ucla.edu/other/mult-pkg/faq/general/… Mar 26, 2018 at 8:23
• Actually, there's something I'm missing. You didn't specify what the $n$ is. And if $n$ is the sample size like in the wikipedia article about it, then for very large sample size $R^2$ goes to zero? Mar 26, 2018 at 8:28
• @oneloop $n$ is the sample size. The $R^{2}$ does not go to zero (notice the $1-$ portion of the formula, and notice the portion that is being raised to $2/n$). Mar 26, 2018 at 17:34
• @oneloop Not at all! Note that on the link you provided, Nagelkerke and Uhler make an adjustment to the Cox-Snell-Magee-Maddala $R^{2}$ that insures 0–1 range... appending it to my answer now. Mar 27, 2018 at 15:03