I am currently writing an empirical paper which reports on the results from estimating a number of regression models.

Question: is it standard to introduce new notation for each of these models, or should one stick to $\beta_0$, $\beta_1$, etc. every time? I am trying not to re-use notation but am running out of Greek letters... I also find introducing the new notation a little pointless since I never actually use the notation to do any symbolic manipulations.

NB I do realise that this is not a question about statistics per se and do apologise for this in advance!

  • $\begingroup$ People will sometimes capture all of the independent variables with a single variable, like Gamma or something, and call it a vector of independent variables. This way they just write down one thing. $\endgroup$ – John Stud Mar 4 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ If the issue is using the same model $Y = X\beta$ but with different predictors, then I would expect to see comparisons naming the variables. In fact, depending on the readership, reminding them of what a linear regression is may not be needed. After all, very many papers cite means and medians without feeling any obligation to remind readers of their definitions. (I recall a university where a course Maths for X turned out to be too demanding for some and so another course Elementary maths for X was added. According to legend, the teacher started by checking familiarity with $+$ and $-$.) $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Mar 4 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Addition is not a straightforward concept :) math.stackexchange.com/questions/15869/how-is-addition-defined $\endgroup$ – afreelunch Mar 4 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, but that is not the point of the story. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Mar 4 at 16:28

If you want to distinguish the $\beta$ for the same independent variable, but in different models, you could use the double indices like : $\beta_{i,j}$ for the $i$th independent variable for the $j$th model.

  • $\begingroup$ Bravo! Excellent tip. $\endgroup$ – Easy Points Mar 4 at 14:52

This is an easy question and just using the notation $\beta_0,\beta_1, ...$ will be fine for you. This is because the number of the letters is finite. Especially Greek letters, and most of the good letters are taken :).


Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.