Using heteroskedasticity-consistent standard error estimators in OLS regression: An introduction and software implementation

Research paper by Andrew F. Hayes, Li Cai

Indexed on: 01 Nov '07Published on: 01 Nov '07Published in: Behavior Research Methods


Homoskedasticity is an important assumption in ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. Although the estimator of the regression parameters in OLS regression is unbiased when the homoskedasticity assumption is violated, the estimator of the covariance matrix of the parameter estimates can be biased and inconsistent under heteroskedasticity, which can produce significance tests and confidence intervals that can be liberal or conservative. After a brief description of heteroskedasticity and its effects on inference in OLS regression, we discuss a family of heteroskedasticity-consistent standard error estimators for OLS regression and argue investigators should routinely use one of these estimators when conducting hypothesis tests using OLS regression. To facilitate the adoption of this recommendation, we provide easy-to-use SPSS and SAS macros to implement the procedures discussed here.