Partial frontiers are not quantiles

Sheng Dai, Timo Kuosmanen, Xun Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Quantile regression and partial frontier are two distinct approaches to nonparametric quantile frontier estimation. In this article, we demonstrate that partial frontiers are not quantiles. Both convex and nonconvex technologies are considered. To this end, we propose convexified order-α as an alternative to convex quantile regression (CQR) and convex expectile regression (CER), and two new nonconvex estimators: isotonic CQR and isotonic CER as alternatives to order-α. A Monte Carlo study shows that the partial frontier estimators perform relatively poorly and even can violate the quantile property, particularly at low quantiles. In addition, the simulation evidence shows that the indirect expectile approach to estimating quantiles generally outperforms the direct quantile estimations. We further find that the convex estimators outperform their nonconvex counterparts owing to their global shape constraints. An illustration of those estimators is provided using a real-world dataset of U.S. electric power plants.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2022

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