Bayesian inference for finite population quantiles from unequal probability samples

This paper develops two Bayesian methods for inference about finite population quantiles of continuous survey variables from unequal probability sampling. The first method estimates cumulative distribution functions of the continuous survey variable by fitting a number of probit penalized spline regression models on the inclusion probabilities. The finite population quantiles are then obtained by inverting the estimated distribution function. This method is quite computationally demanding. The second method predicts non-sampled values by assuming a smoothly-varying relationship between the continuous survey variable and the probability of inclusion, by modeling both the mean function and the variance function using splines. The two Bayesian spline-model-based estimators yield a desirable balance between robustness and efficiency. Simulation studies show that both methods yield smaller root mean squared errors than the sample-weighted estimator and the ratio and difference estimators described by Rao, Kovar, and Mantel (RKM 1990), and are more robust to model misspecification than the regression through the origin model-based estimator described in Chambers and Dunstan (1986). When the sample size is small, the 95% credible intervals of the two new methods have closer to nominal confidence coverage than the sample-weighted estimator.