I want to impute some missing data. I am interested in the number of months someone was unemployed between ages 18-21. This variable is bounded at 0-48.

However, for some individuals, I have partial employment histories. For instance, I may observe an individual between ages 18-20 only. If this individual has sixth months unemployment during this time, I know months unemployed between ages 18-21 must be bounded at 6-18.

My questions are:

  1. How can I make sure my imputation is between the correct bounds?
  2. How can I take the existing information into account in my imputation?

I've looked at Stef Van Buuren's Flexible Imputation of Missing Data book (https://stefvanbuuren.name/fimd/), which discusses his mice package in R. In Section 6.4.6, he suggests a procedure whereby values are first imputed then truncated if outside the bounds. I have two problems with this: 1. I can only set a bound that is constant across all observations (e.g. 0-48 not 6-18 where relevant); 2. the truncation can lead to a bimodal distribution with imputed data clustered at the bounds (see example code below with bounds at 4 and 6).

n <- 400
Y1 <- sample(1:10, size = n, replace = TRUE)
Y2 <- sample(1:20, size = n, replace = TRUE)
Y3 <- 10 + 2 * Y1 + 0.6 * Y2 + sample(-10:10, size = n,
                                      replace = TRUE)
Y <- data.frame(Y1, Y2, Y3)
Y[1:100, 1:2] <- NA
md.pattern(Y, plot = FALSE)
post <- make.post(Y)
post["Y1"] <-  "imp[[j]][, i] <- squeeze(imp[[j]][, i], c(4, 6))"
imp <- mice(Y, method = "norm.nob", m = 1,
            maxit = 1, seed = 1, post = post)

enter image description here


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