Leverage (statistics)

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In statistics and in particular in regression analysis, leverage is a measure of how far away the independent variable values of an observation are from those of the other observations.

High-leverage points are those observations, if any, made at extreme or outlying values of the independent variables such that the lack of neighboring observations means that the fitted regression model will pass close to that particular observation.[1]


In the linear regression model, the leverage score for the i-th observation is defined as:

the i-th diagonal element of the projection matrix , where is the design matrix (whose rows correspond to the observations and whose columns correspond to the independent or explanatory variables).


The leverage score is also known as the observation self-sensitivity or self-influence,[2] because of the equation

which states that the leverage of the i-th observation equals the partial derivative of the fitted i-th dependent value with respect to the measured i-th dependent value . This partial derivative describes the degree by which the i-th measured value influences the i-th fitted value. Note that this leverage depends on the values of the explanatory (x-) variables of all observations but not on any of the values of the dependent (y-) variables.

The equation follows directly from the computation of the fitted values via the hat matrix as ; that is, leverage is a diagonal element of the design matrix:

Bounds on leverage[edit]


First, note that H is an idempotent matrix: Also, observe that is symmetric (i.e.: ). So equating the ii element of H to that of H 2, we have


Effect on residual variance[edit]

If we are in an ordinary least squares setting with fixed X and homoscedastic regression errors

then the i-th regression residual

has variance

In other words, an observation's leverage score determines the degree of noise in the model's misprediction of that observation, with higher leverage leading to less noise.


First, note that is idempotent and symmetric, and . This gives


Studentized residuals[edit]

The corresponding studentized residual—the residual adjusted for its observation-specific estimated residual variance—is then

where is an appropriate estimate of

Related concepts[edit]

Partial leverage[edit]

Partial average is a measure of the contribution of the individual independent variables to the total leverage of each observation. Modern computer packages for statistical analysis include, as part of their facilities for regression analysis, various quantitative measures for identifying influential observations, including such a measure of how an independent variable contributes to the total leverage of a datum.

Mahalanobis distance[edit]

Leverage is closely related to the Mahalanobis distance[3] (see proof: [4]).

Specifically, for some matrix the squared Mahalanobis distance of some row vector from the vector of mean , of length , and with the estimated covariance matrix is:

This is related to the leverage of the hat matrix of after appending a column vector of 1's to it. The relationship between the two is:

The relationship between leverage and Mahalanobis distance enables us to decompose leverage into meaningful components so that some sources of high leverage can be investigated analytically. [5]

Software implementations[edit]

Many programs and statistics packages, such as R, Python, etc., include implementations of Leverage.

Language/Program Function Notes
R hat(x, intercept = TRUE) or hatvalues(model, ...) See [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Everitt, B. S. (2002). Cambridge Dictionary of Statistics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81099-X.
  2. ^ Cardinali, C. (June 2013). "Data Assimilation: Observation influence diagnostic of a data assimilation system" (PDF).
  3. ^ Weiner, Irving B.; Schinka, John A.; Velicer, Wayne F. (23 October 2012). Handbook of Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-28203-8.
  4. ^ Prove the relation between Mahalanobis distance and Leverage?
  5. ^ Kim, M. G. (2004). "Sources of high leverage in linear regression model (Journal of Applied Mathematics and Computing, Vol 16, 509–513)". arXiv:2006.04024 [math.ST].