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Penelope Bilton

Doctor of Philosophy, (Science)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Tree based models for poverty estimation

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Small area estimation techniques are used to estimate poverty across small geographic domains within a country. These estimates are then displayed on a poverty map and used by the World Food Programme and other aid organisations for efficient allocation of resources. Current methodology for poverty estimation employs a regression modelling approach. Mrs Bilton developed an alternative technique based on classification and regression trees. She amalgamated probability-based predictions from the tree-based models to provide small area estimates of poverty, and developed a method for calculating standard errors for these estimates when the survey data has a complex design structure. Her research findings showed that the tree-based methodology is easier to automate and gives results comparable to the standard method.

Professor Geoff Jones
Dr Siva Ganesh

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