Stata Code Fragment
Fitting a seemingly unrelated regression (sureg) manually

The Stata command sureg runs a seemingly unrelated regression (SUR). That is a regression in which two (or more) unrelated outcome variables are predicted by sets of predictor variables. These predictor variables may or may not be the same for the two outcomes. If the set of predictor variables is identical across the two outcomes, the results from sureg will be identical to those from OLS. In other cases (i.e. non-identical prediction equations), SUR produces more efficient estimates than OLS. It does this by weighting the estimates by the covariance of the residuals from the individual regressions. See Greene (2005 p 340-351) for additional information on seemingly unrelated regression. Below we show how to replicate the results of Stata's sureg command.

We will fit the following model:

read = b_0 + b_1*math + b_2*write + b_3*socst + e_r
science = g_0 + g_1*female + g_2*math + e_s

The coefficients b_0, b_1, b_2, and b_3, are the intercept and regression coefficients for read, and e_r is the error term for read. The coefficients g_0, g_1, and g_2 are the regression coefficients for science, and e_s is the error term for science.

The matrix form of the equation for these coefficients is:

Where X is a matrix of predictors, Y is a vector of outcomes, and V is:

that is the Kronecker product of S and I. Where S is the variance covariance matrix of OLS residuals and I is an identity matrix of size n equal to the number of cases in the analysis.

Below we open the dataset and then run the above model using the sureg command.

use, clear

sureg (read math write socst) (science female math)

Seemingly unrelated regression
Equation          Obs  Parms        RMSE    "R-sq"       chi2        P
read              200      3    6.884452    0.5469     234.17   0.0000
science           200      2    7.591249    0.4092     137.41   0.0000

             |      Coef.   Std. Err.      z    P>|z|     [95% Conf. Interval]
read         |
        math |   .4820974   .0676596     7.13   0.000     .3494869    .6147079
       write |   .1112919   .0692286     1.61   0.108    -.0243936    .2469775
       socst |   .2775624   .0570989     4.86   0.000     .1656506    .3894741
       _cons |   6.430895   3.096425     2.08   0.038     .3620135    12.49978
science      |
      female |  -1.687415   1.045627    -1.61   0.107    -3.736806    .3619758
        math |    .663942   .0574353    11.56   0.000     .5513709    .7765132
       _cons |   17.81641   3.139002     5.68   0.000     11.66408    23.96874

First we will increase the matsize, this will allow Stata to hold larger matrices which is necessary in order to run this example. Then we will use the regress command to predict read using write, math, and socst. After we run the regression we use predict to create a new variable r_resid which contains the residual for each case. Further below we repeat the last two steps for the model predicting science.

set matsize 800

regress read write math socst
predict r_read, resid

regress science female math
predict r_sci, resid

We use the cor (correlate) command with the cov option to obtain the covariance matrix for the residuals from the above regressions. We store this matrix as s, a 2 by 2 symmetric matrix. Then we create another matrix i, which is an identity matrix with the number of rows and columns equal to the number of cases in the analysis i.e. i is a 200 by 200 identity matrix. Finally, the matrix v is the Kronecker product of s and i resulting in a 400 by 400 matrix.

cor r_read r_sci, cov
mat s = r(C)
mat i = I(200)
mat v = s#i

Below is an example of what the X matrix should look like when we are done. The first two lines of the matrix shown below are the lines for the first equation (with additional cases omitted), the second set of lines shows the lines for the second equation. Note that the math scores are the same, since the same two hypothetical cases are shown.

math write socst cons female math cons
 53   45    62    1    0      0    0 
 46   53    58    1    0      0    0 
  0    0     0    0    1      53   1
  0    0     0    0    0      46   1

The code below takes the values of the predictor variables for the first equation (i.e. math write socst cons) from the dataset and places them in a matrix, x_read. In the second line of code below a matrix of zeros produced by the function J(200,3,0) with 200 rows (n=200) and 3 columns (for three variables in the second equation) is placed to the right of the values from the dataset. A similar process takes place for the predictors from the second equation (x_sci) except this time the matrix of zeros is 200 by 4, and is placed to the left of the values from the dataset. The final line of code below stacks the matrix for the first equation (x_read) on top of the matrix for the second equation (x_sci), creating a single matrix x, with 400 rows and 7 columns.

mkmat math write socst cons, matrix(x_read)
mat x_read = x_read , J(200,3,0)

mkmat female math cons, matrix(x_sci)
mat x_sci = J(200,4,0) , x_sci

mat x = x_read \ x_sci

First two vectors are created, one for each of the two dependent variables (read and science), then the vector of read values is stacked on top of the vector of science values to create a single vector y with 400 rows.

mkmat read, matrix(y_read)
mkmat science, matrix(y_sci)
mat y = y_read \ y_sci

Finally we compute the weighted estimates, producing the vector b with 7 rows. Then we can list the vector to look at our parameter estimates. Note that these are the same as the coefficient estimates produced by sureg.

mat b = inv(x'*inv(v)*x)*x'*inv(v)*y

mat list b

 math   .4820974
write  .11129194
socst  .27756235
 cons  6.4308952
   c1  -1.687415
   c2  .66394202
   c3  17.816414

Using Mata

For the relatively small example above, we could use Stata's matrix functions to reproduce the estimates from the sureg. However, if you wanted to do this with a larger example, you might need to use Mata. Below is the code to reproduce the same example using Stata and Mata.

use d:\data\hsb2, clear
sureg (read math write socst) (science female math)

* run both models and get residuals
reg read math write socst
predict r_read, resid

reg science female math 
predict r_sci, resid

* create variable to act as constant in regressions
capture gen cons = 1

* get the covariance between the residuals
cor r_read r_sci, cov

/* calculate v the weight matrix based on the error covariances */
s = st_matrix("r(C)")
i = I(200)
v = s#i

/* matrix for x variables for read (plus appropriate zeros) */
x_read = st_data(.,("math", "write", "socst", "cons"))
x_read = x_read , J(200,3,0)

/* matrix for x variables for science (prefixed by the appropriate zeros) */
x_sci = st_data(.,("female", "math", "cons"))
x_sci = J(200,4,0) , x_sci

/* Stack matrix for first equation on top of matrix for second equation */
x = x_read \ x_sci

/* vectors for each of the y variables, stack read on top of science*/
y = st_data(.,"read") \ st_data(.,"science")

/* calculate the estimates and post them back to the Stata matrix b */
b = qrinv(x'*luinv(v)*x)*x'*luinv(v)*y

mat lis b

r1   .4820974
r2  .11129194
r3  .27756235
r4  6.4308952
r5  -1.687415
r6  .66394202
r7  17.816414


Greene, William H. (2005). Econometric Analysis. Fifth edition. Pearson Education.

See also

Stata FAQ: What is seemingly unrelated regression and how can I perform it in Stata?

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