Using regression tree ensembles to model interaction effects: a graphical approach
Multiplicative interaction terms are widely used in economics to identify heterogeneous effects and to tailor policy recommendations. The execution of these models is often flawed due to specification and interpretation errors. This article introduces regression trees and regression trees ensembles to model and visualize interaction effects. Tree-based methods include interactions by construction and in a nonlinear manner. Visualizing nonlinear interaction effects in a way that can be easily read overcome common interpretation errors. We apply the proposed approach to two different datasets to illustrate its usefulness.