Computation of standard errors

Bryan E. Dowd, William H. Greene, Edward C. Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objectives We discuss the problem of computing the standard errors of functions involving estimated parameters and provide the relevant computer code for three different computational approaches using two popular computer packages. Study Design We show how to compute the standard errors of several functions of interest: the predicted value of the dependent variable for a particular subject, and the effect of a change in an explanatory variable on the predicted value of the dependent variable for an individual subject and average effect for a sample of subjects. Empirical Application Using a publicly available dataset, we explain three different methods of computing standard errors: the delta method, Krinsky-Robb, and bootstrapping. We provide computer code for Stata 12 and LIMDEP 10/NLOGIT 5. Conclusions In most applications, choice of the computational method for standard errors of functions of estimated parameters is a matter of convenience. However, when computing standard errors of the sample average of functions that involve both estimated parameters and nonstochastic explanatory variables, it is important to consider the sources of variation in the function's values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-750
Number of pages20
JournalHealth services research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Standard errors
  • estimation
  • statistics
  • variance


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