The Lagrange Multiplier Test and Its Applications to Model Specification in Econometrics
Many econometric models are susceptible to analysis only by asymptotic techniques and there are three principles, based on asymptotic theory, for the construction of tests of parametric hypotheses. These are: (i) the Wald (W) test which relies on the asymptotic normality of parameter estimators, (ii) the maximum likelihood ratio (LR) procedure and (iii) the Lagrange multiplier (LM) method which tests the effect on the first order conditions for a maximum of the likelihood of imposing the hypothesis. In the econometric literature, most attention seems to have been centred on the first two principles. Familiar " t-tests " usually rely on the W principle for their validity while there have been a number of papers advocating and illustrating the use of the LR procedure. However, all three are equivalent in well-behaved problems in the sense that they give statistics with the same asymptotic distribution when the null hypothesis is true and have the same asymptotic power characteristics. Choice of any one principle must therefore be made by reference to other criteria such as small sample properties or computational convenience.