Tree Boosted Varying Coefficient Models

1 Apr 2019  ·  Yichen Zhou, Giles Hooker ·

This paper investigates the integration of gradient boosted decision trees and varying coefficient models. We introduce the tree boosted varying coefficient framework which justifies the implementation of decision tree boosting as the nonparametric effect modifiers in varying coefficient models. This framework requires no structural assumptions in the space containing the varying coefficient covariates, is easy to implement, and keeps a balance between model complexity and interpretability. To provide statistical guarantees, we prove the asymptotic consistency of the proposed method under the regression settings with $L^2$ loss. We further conduct a thorough empirical study to show that the proposed method is capable of providing accurate predictions as well as intelligible visual explanations.

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