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Using the Criterion-Predictor Factor Model to Compute the Probability of Detecting Prediction Bias with Ordinary Least Squares Regression

An Erratum to this article was published on 05 June 2013


The study of prediction bias is important and the last five decades include research studies that examined whether test scores differentially predict academic or employment performance. Previous studies used ordinary least squares (OLS) to assess whether groups differ in intercepts and slopes. This study shows that OLS yields inaccurate inferences for prediction bias hypotheses. This paper builds upon the criterion-predictor factor model by demonstrating the effect of selection, measurement error, and measurement bias on prediction bias studies that use OLS. The range restricted, criterion-predictor factor model is used to compute Type I error and power rates associated with using regression to assess prediction bias hypotheses. In short, OLS is not capable of testing hypotheses about group differences in latent intercepts and slopes. Additionally, a theorem is presented which shows that researchers should not employ hierarchical regression to assess intercept differences with selected samples.

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Correspondence to Steven Andrew Culpepper.

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An erratum to this article is available at

Appendix: Additional Derivations

Appendix: Additional Derivations

A.1 Observed Prediction Invariance Under the Criterion-Predictor Factor Model

This subsection derives the conditions in (13) and (14) for observed prediction invariance under the criterion-predictor factor model. The condition for slope invariance is fairly straightforward to derive. Specifically, the observed OLS slope for group i is the ratio of the covariance between Z i and Y i to the variance of Z i from (12),

$$ \beta_{1i}= \frac{\lambda_{yi}\varGamma_i \phi_i \lambda_{zi}}{\lambda_{zi}^2 \phi_i +\varTheta_{zi}}. $$

Consequently, the condition for slope invariance in (14) arises when β 1i =B1.

Subgroup intercepts are defined as β 0i =E(Y i )−β 1i E(Z i ). Substituting the definitions of E(Y i ), E(Z i ), and β 1i into the definition of β 0i and rearranging terms yields,


Subgroup intercept invariance occurs when β 0i =B0, which confirms (13).

A.2 Derivations to Support Theorem 1

An expression for β 1s (HR) is defined in the first element of \(\varSigma_{zGs}^{-1}\varSigma_{zGys}\) where Σ zGs is the variance–covariance matrix of Z s and G and Σ zGys is a vector of covariances between Z s and Y s and G and Y s . Multiplying the elements in \(\varSigma_{zGs}^{-1}\varSigma_{zGys}\) implies that β 1s (HR) is defined as:


Results concerning finite mixtures imply that σ zys and \(\sigma_{zs}^{2}\) can be written as functions of p s and subgroup covariances and variances. Specifically, σ zys and \(\sigma_{zs}^{2}\) are defined as


Consequently, β 1s (HR) is defined as

$$ \beta_{1s} (HR )= \frac{p_s\sigma_{zy1s}+ (1-p_s )\sigma_{zy2s}}{p_s\sigma_{z1s}^2+ (1-p_s )\sigma_{z2s}^2}. $$

Observed subgroup slopes will equal the common slope only in the absence of observed slope differences. For instance, β 11s =β 1s (HR) if and only if β 11s =β 12s . More formally, β 11s =β 1s (HR) when,


Cross multiplying in (A.7) and simplifying terms implies that β 11s =β 1s (HR) only when β 11s =β 12s . Additionally, β 11s >β 1s (HR) if β 11s >β 12s and vice versa.

A.3 Derivation of Correlations Among Variables

This subsection includes additional derivations to support several equations used to compute \(\sigma_{W_{y}}^{2}\) and to compute the probability of detecting intercept and slope differences with OLS. Note that the derivations employ the use of finite mixtures and the fact that G is a categorical variable that codes group membership using zero or one. The derivations of correlations proceed by specifying covariances between variables as the expected value of the product of the random variables less the product of their expected values. The first subsection presents derivations for computing correlations necessary to compute \(\sigma_{W_{y}}^{2}\) and the second subsection includes derivations to compute Type I error and power rates of OLS tests of intercept and slope differences.

A.3.1 Derivations of Correlations for Computing \(\sigma_{W_{y}}^{2}\)

This section derives expressions for \(\sigma_{W_{z}G}^{2}\), \(\rho_{W_{z},W_{z}G}\), and \(\rho_{G,W_{z}G}\). First, the variance of the product W z G is,


Substituting the definitions of ϕ 1 and κ 1 from (5) and (7) into the above equation yields


By definition, the E(W z )=0 and \(E (W_{z}^{2} )=1\) across the two groups, so the correlation between W z and W z G is,


The correlation between G and W z G can be found in a similar manner. Specifically, \(\rho_{G,W_{z}G}\) is,


A.3.2 Derivations of Correlations Among Z s , G, Z s G, and Y s

This section derives expressions for ρ z,zGs , ρ G,zGs , and ρ zG,ys . Note that expressions for ρ z,Gs and ρ y,Gs are not derived, because these correlations are simply biserial correlations. It is important to first derive \(\sigma_{zGs}^{2}\), which is equal to


where the last equality was obtained by substituting μ z1s =μ zs +(1−p s μ zs into (A.12) and factoring out a 1−p s from the similar terms.

The correlation between Z s and Z s G is,


Substituting the definition of μ zs1 into (A.13) and rearranging terms produces the result in (41). The correlation between G and Z s G is similarly expressed as the covariance divided by respective standard deviations:


where the last equation was established by substituting for μ z1s and factoring out 1−p s .

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Culpepper, S.A. Using the Criterion-Predictor Factor Model to Compute the Probability of Detecting Prediction Bias with Ordinary Least Squares Regression. Psychometrika 77, 561–580 (2012).

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Key words

  • selection
  • prediction bias
  • measurement bias
  • type I error
  • power