A note on \(p\)-values interpreted as plausibilities. (English) Zbl 1480.62010

Summary: \(P\)-values are a mainstay in statistics but are often misinterpreted. We propose a new interpretation of \(p\)-value as a meaningful plausibility, where this is to be interpreted formally within the inferential model framework. We show that, for most practical hypothesis testing problems, there exists an inferential model such that the corresponding plausibility function, evaluated at the null hypothesis, is exactly the \(p\)-value. The advantages of this representation are that the notion of plausibility is consistent with the way practitioners use and interpret \(p\)-values, and the plausibility calculation avoids the troublesome conditioning on the truthfulness of the null. This connection with plausibilities also reveals a shortcoming of standard \(p\)-values in problems with non-trivial parameter constraints.


62A01 Foundations and philosophical topics in statistics
62F03 Parametric hypothesis testing
62G10 Nonparametric hypothesis testing
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