Precluding rare outcomes by predicting their absence

Eric W. Schoon, David Melamed, Ronald L. Breiger, Eunsung Yoon, Christopher Kleps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Forecasting extremely rare events is a pressing problem, but efforts to model such outcomes are often limited by the presence of multiple causes within classes of events, insufficient observations of the outcome to assess fit, and biased estimates due to insufficient observations of the outcome. We introduce a novel approach for analyzing rare event data that addresses these challenges by turning attention to the conditions under which rare outcomes do not occur. We detail how configurational methods can be used to identify conditions or sets of conditions that would preclude the occurrence of a rare outcome. Results from Monte Carlo experiments show that our approach can be used to systematically preclude up to 78.6% of observations, and application to ground-truth data coupled with a bootstrap inferential test illustrates how our approach can also yield novel substantive insights that are obscured by standard statistical analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0223239
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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