I'm running a linear regression model as baseline for a specific estimation problem. Based on the resulting R-squared, regressor coefficients and their respective p-values, I can conclude that specific independent variables can be removed from the model.

  • What is the induced risk of removing these variables from the feature set?
  • Can other models—that are better at modelling nonlinear relationships—suffer from this decision?
  • How can I be sure that I am not loosing valuable nonlinear information without running "nonlinear" regressors?
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    $\begingroup$ @KorkiBuziek This is a standard question of variable selection and there is a huge literature on it. High p-value and/or low variable importance does not imply lack of utility. stats.stackexchange.com/questions/215154/… $\endgroup$
    – horaceT
    Mar 13, 2018 at 16:58

1 Answer 1


Variable selection in linear regression is based on partial correlations, not zero order correlations. The partial correlation is the one resulting after a conditioning variable effect is removed from both X and Y.

While a variable may be non highly correlated with Y, it may be highly correlated with an X variable in such a way that the X variable after being partialled out of the conditioning effect becomes highly significant.

This effect is known as suppression among other names. HTH


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