How to fit power laws

June 7, 2011

(This article was first published on Recology, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

A new paper out in Ecology by Xiao and colleagues (in press, here) compares the use of log-transformation to non-linear regression for analyzing power-laws.

They suggest that the error distribution should determine which method performs better. When your errors are additive, homoscedastic, and normally distributed, they propose using non-linear regression. When errors are multiplicative, heteroscedastic, and lognormally distributed, they suggest using linear regression on log-transformed data. The assumptions about these two methods are different, so cannot be correct for a single dataset.

They will provide their R code for their methods once they are up on Ecological Archives (they weren’t up there by the time of this post).

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