Ratio estimation with measurement error in the auxiliary variate


With auxiliary information that is well correlated with the primary variable of interest, ratio estimation of the finite population total may be much more efficient than alternative estimators that do not make use of the auxiliary variate. The well-known properties of ratio estimators are perturbed when the auxiliary variate is measured with error. In this contribution we examine the effect of measurement error in the auxiliary variate on the design-based statistical properties of three common ratio estimators. We examine the case of systematic measurement error as well as measurement error that varies according to a fixed distribution. Aside from presenting expressions for the bias and variance of these estimators when they are contaminated with measurement error we provide numerical results based on a specific population. Under systematic measurement error, the biasing effect is asymmetric around zero, and precision may be improved or degraded depending on the magnitude of the error. Under variable measurement error, bias of the conventional ratio-of-means estimator increased slightly with increasing error dispersion, but far less than the increased bias of the conventional mean-of-ratios estimator. In similar fashion, the variance of the mean-of-ratios estimator incurs a greater loss of precision with increasing error dispersion compared with the other estimators we examine. Overall, the ratio-of-means estimator appears to be remarkably resistant to the effects of measurement error in the auxiliary variate.