Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation
Multiple imputation (MI) is an increasingly popular method for analysing incomplete multivariate data sets. One of the most crucial assumptions of this method relates to mechanism leading to missing data. Distinctness is typically assumed, which indicates a complete independence of mechanisms underlying missingness and data generation. In addition, missing at random or missing completely at random is assumed, which explicitly states under which conditions missingness is independent of observed data. Despite common use of MI under these assumptions, plausibility and sensitivity to these fundamental assumptions have not been well-investigated. In this work, we investigate the impact of non-distinctness and non-ignorability. In particular, non-ignorability is due to unobservable cluster-specific effects (e.g. random-effects). Through a comprehensive simulation study, we show that MI inferences suggest that nonignoriability due to non-distinctness do not immediately imply dismal performance while non-ignorability due to missing not at random leads to quite subpar performance.
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