2011 volume 43(12) pages 2992 – 3010
doi:10.1068/a44111

Cite as:
Páez A, Farber S, Wheeler D, 2011, "A simulation-based study of geographically weighted regression as a method for investigating spatially varying relationships" Environment and Planning A 43(12) 2992 – 3010

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A simulation-based study of geographically weighted regression as a method for investigating spatially varying relationships

Antonio Páez, Steven Farber, David Wheeler

Received 27 February 2011; in revised form 29 June 2011

Abstract. Large variability and correlations among the coefficients obtained from the method of geographically weighted regression (GWR) have been identified in previous research. This is an issue that poses a serious challenge for the utility of the method as a tool to investigate multivariate relationships. The objectives of this paper are to assess: (1) the ability of GWR to discriminate between a spatially constant processes and one with spatially varying relationships; and (2) to accurately retrieve spatially varying relationships. Extensive numerical experiments are used to investigate situations where the underlying process is stationary and nonstationary, and to assess the degree to which spurious intercoefficient correlations are introduced. Two different implementations of GWR and cross-validation approaches are assessed. Results suggest that judicious application of GWR can be used to discern whether the underlying process is nonstationary. Furthermore, evidence of spurious correlations indicates that caution must be exercised when drawing conclusions regarding spatial relationships retrieved using this approach, particularly when working with small samples. Keywords: GWR, correlation, locally linear estimation, simulation, goodness of fit, inference

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