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In statistics, Cook's distance or Cook's D is a commonly used estimate of the influence of a data point when performing least squares regression analysis. In a practical ordinary least squares analysis, Cook's distance can be used in several ways: to indicate data points that are particularly worth checking for validity; to indicate regions of the design space where it would be good to be able to obtain more data points. It is named after the American statistician R. Dennis Cook, who introduced the concept in 1977.
Cook's distance measures the effect of deleting a given observation. Data points with large residuals (outliers) and/or high leverage may distort the outcome and accuracy of a regression. Points with a large Cook's distance are considered to merit closer examination in the analysis.
The following are the algebraically equivalent expressions (in case of simple linear regression):
In the above equations:
There are different opinions regarding what cut-off values to use for spotting highly influential points. A simple operational guideline of has been suggested. Others have indicated that , where is the number of observations, might be used.
A conservative approach relies on the fact that Cook's distance has the form W/p, where W is formally identical to the Wald statistic that one uses for testing that using some . Recalling that W/p has an distribution (with p and n-p degrees of freedom), we see that Cook's distance is equivalent to the F statistic for testing this hypothesis, and we can thus use as a threshold.
Specifically can be interpreted as the distance one's estimates move within the confidence ellipsoid that represents a region of plausible values for the parameters.[clarification needed] This is shown by an alternative but equivalent representation of Cook's distance in terms of changes to the estimates of the regression parameters between the cases where the particular observation is either included or excluded from the regression analysis.