In parametric copula setups, where both the margins and copula have parametric forms, two-stage maximum likelihood estimation, often referred to as inference functions for margins, is used as an attractive alternative to the full maximum likelihood estimation strategy. Exploiting the existing model robust inference of two-stage maximum likelihood estimation, a copula information criterion (CIC) for model selection is developed. In a nutshell, CIC aims for the model that minimizes the Kullback–Leibler divergence from the real data generating mechanism. CIC does not assume that the chosen parametric model captures this true model, unlike what is assumed for AIC. In this sense, CIC is analogous to the Takeuchi Information Criterion (TIC), which is defined for the full maximum likelihood. If the additional assumption that a candidate model is correctly specified is made, then CIC for that model simplifies to AIC. Additionally, CIC can easily be extended to the conditional copula setup where covariates are parametrically linked to the copula model. As a numerical illustration, simulation studies were performed to show that the better model according to CIC also has better prediction performance in general. The result also shows that the bias correction term of CIC penalizes the misspecified model more heavily. This bias correction term has a strong positive relationship with the prediction performance of the model. So, a model with bad prediction performance is being penalized more by CIC. Although this behavior of the bias correction part is an important conceptual advance of CIC, this is not sufficient to make CIC outperform AIC in practice. This is because each misspecified model has the bias correction term and they grow at different speeds, depending on the model. The difference between CIC and AIC becomes minimal as sample size grows because the log-likelihood part outgrows the bias correction part.
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