Sometimes linear regression can be used with relationships which are not inherently linear, but can be made to be linear after a transformation. In particular, we consider the following exponential model:

Taking the natural log (see Exponentials and Logs) of both sides of the equation, we have the following equivalent equation:

This equation has the form of a linear regression model (where I have added an error term *ε*):

**Observation**: Since *αe*^{β(x+1)} = *αe ^{βx} · e^{β}*, we note that an increase in

*x*of 1 unit results in y being multiplied by

*e*.

^{β}**Observation**: A model of the form ln y = *βx + δ* is referred to as a **log-level regression** model. Clearly any such model can be expressed as an exponential regression model of form y = *αe ^{βx} *by setting

*α = e*.

^{δ}**Example 1**: Determine whether the data on the left side of Figure 1 fits with an exponential model.

**Figure 1 – Data for Example 1 and log transform**

The table on the right side of Figure 1 shows ln y (the natural log of y) instead of y. We now use the Regression data analysis tool to model the relationship between ln y and *x*.

**Figure 2 – Regression data analysis for x**

**vs. ln y**

**from Example 1**

The table in Figure 2 shows that the model is a good fit and the relationship between ln y and *x* is given by

Applying *e* to both sides of the equation yields

We can also see the relationship between and by creating a scatter chart for the original data and choosing **Layout > Analysis|Trendline** in Excel and then selecting the Exponential Trendline option. We can also create a chart showing the relationship between and ln and use Linear Trendline to show the linear regression line (see Figure 3).

**Figure 3 – Trend lines for Example 1**

As usual we can use the formula y = 14.05∙(1.016)* ^{x}* described above for prediction. Thus if we want the y value corresponding to

*x*= 26, using the above model we get ŷ =14.05∙(1.016)

^{26}= 21.35.

We can get the same result using Excel’s GROWTH function, as described below.

**Excel Functions:** Excel supplies two functions for exponential regression, namely GROWTH and LOGEST.

**LOGEST** is the exponential counterpart to the linear regression function LINEST described in Testing the Slope of the Regression Line. Once again you need to highlight a 5 × 2 area and enter the array function =LOGEST(R1, R2, TRUE, TRUE), where R1 = the array of observed values for y (not ln y) and R2 is the array of observed values for *x*, and then press **Ctrl-Shft-Enter**. LOGEST doesn’t supply any labels and so you will need to enter these manually.

Essentially LOGEST is simply LINEST using the mapping described above for transforming an exponent model into a linear model. For Example 1 the output for LOGEST(B6:B16, A6:A16, TRUE, TRUE) is as in Figure 4.

**Figure 4 – LOGEST output for data in Example 1**

**GROWTH** is the exponential counterpart to the linear regression function TREND described in Method of Least Squares. For R1 = the array containing the y values of the observed data and R2 = the array containing the *x* values of the observed data, GROWTH(R1, R2, *x*) = EXP(*a*) * EXP(*b*)^*x* where EXP(*a*) and EXP(*b*) are as defined from the LOGEST output described above (or alternatively from the Regression data analysis). E.g., based on the data from Example 1, we have:

GROWTH(B6:B16, A6:A16, 26) = 21.35

which is the same result we obtained earlier using the Regression data analysis tool.

GROWTH can also be used to predict more than one value. In this case, GROWTH(R1, R2, R3) is an array function where R1 and R2 are as described above and R3 is an array of *x* values. The function returns an array of predicted values for the *x* values in R3 based on the model determined by the values in R1 and R2.

**Observation**: Note that GROWTH(R1, R2, R3) = EXP(TREND(LN(R1), R2, R3))

Hello,

Can you please explain to me how you would do the regression data analysis…? I want to know how to get the values in figure 2, Thank you!

Lily,

See the webpage

http://www.real-statistics.com/regression/hypothesis-testing-significance-regression-line-slope/

Charles

Hi,

Can you please elaborate, if we have an exponentially decaying function, when we need to/ we can use linear fiitting for interpolation instaed of using exponentially decaying curve?

Nazia,

As described on the referenced webpage, you can always model data that fits an exponential function using a linear model. The non-linear model (as described on the Real Statistics website) will be a little more accurate.

Charles

Hi,

I saw in some papers that the coefficients are interpreted as semi-elasticity without outlining the initial model. Does that mean that the model is in log-level form ?

Ahmed,

Yes. This is explained on the following webpage>

Power Regression

Charles

Pingback: Why AdWords Accounts Succeed and Fail [DATA] | Disruptive Advertising

When we use other functional forms to run the regression analysis, why do we then choose the functional form with the least MS residual to analyse the result?

Zaynab,

I don’t see any reference to least MS residual on the referenced webpage. In general, the logic behind minimizing the squared error is as described on the webpage

Maximum Likelihood Function.

Charles

Under what circumstances would it be appropriate to log transform only the independent variable for an exponential regression?

Would that be considered a log-level or a different type?

Rachel,

This transformation is appropriate when it provides a better fit for your data.

This is level-log regression as described on the webpage http://www.real-statistics.com/regression/power-regression/.

Charles

Thanks Charles. These pages are very helpful.

However, a power regression includes the transformation of both the x and y axis.

log-log: power

log-level: exponential

What is it called when you just transform the independent variable?

Rachel,

See Power Regression

Charles

Dear Charles

I am trying to download the software or application as per your posting from http://www.real-statistics.com/free-download/real-statistics-resource-pack/#install

It might be possible that I am not doing it properly, because I still can not download it to my computer and have it as an Add in tool

Could you please help me out with some step by step guidance ?

Thanks

MK

Moshe,

To download the software, just go to the following webpage and click on the

Free Downloadbutton (assuming that you are using Excel 2010, 2013 or 2016 for Windows)Real Statistics Resource Pack

To install the software after you have downloaded it, perform the following steps:

1. Open Excel, but don’t try to open the realstats.xlam file that you downloaded

2. Press

Alt-TI(i.e. hold the Alt key down and simultaneously press T followed by I)3. On the

Add-Insdialog box that appears press theBrowsebutton and locate where you stored the realstats.xlam file that you downloaded (this done in a similar manner as when youOpena file)4. Once you have done this, make sure that the Realstats option on the Add-Ins dialog box is checked and click the

OKbuttonPingback: Linest and the if function

Please reply soon… i need it

What if we take log to the base 10 i.e. normal log instead of ln i.e. natural log?

Will the answers differ?

You can use log base 10 instead of the natural log, but the answers will differ by a constant factor since LN(x) = a Log(x) for any x where a = 2.302585…

Charles

In order to run the regression why don’t you have to take the natural log form of both x and y before coming up with the equation? Then once you have it in the natural log form would you just take the equation and set it equal to marginal cost to find the profit maximizing quantity? Thank you.

Alyssa,

I have taken the natural log of both sides of the equation. Remember that LN(EXP(x)) is x.

Regarding “…marginal cost to find the profit maximizing quantity”, you apparently have a particular application of exponential regression in mind, but exponential regression can be used to address a variety of applications, not just those from economics.

Charles

how all functions (linear, semi log, double log and exponential) can be applied

Sorry, but I am not sure that I understand your question, although perhaps the following webpage provides the information you are looking for.

Power Regression

Charles

Pls I need a solution to this problem where can I get semi-log regression and double log regression in SPSS or which software can I use to solve it

Sorry, but I am not that familiar with SPSS. I do my statistical analysis using Excel and my software, the Real Statistics Resource Pack.

Charles

Can you provide any real life example of log-linear model??

Taniya,

Take any example you have for the chi-square test for independence (of two variables) and simply add another variable. Log-linear models analyze the resulting 3-way contingency tables.

Charles

I would like to know about decline curves and rates.

y = 2E+21e-0.002x

I want to know decline rate is -0.02%? My problems are to know rates and -0.002.

.002 is the exponential decay constant, which results in a decline rate of .2%.

If this is not the answer to your question, please explain better.

Charles

Y=αxe^βx

can any one solve this example???

i cant fit into Y= mX + C

By “solve” do you mean put y=αxe^βx into the form Y = mX + C? This doesn’t seem likely since logy = βx + logα + logx takes the form Y = mX + logX + C.

Charles

Hey, I have a doubt. If we have a data and we need to find the relation between them,we use correl to see if they have any linear relation between them. Likewise is there any counterpart for correl to see the exponential relation between the data. If we have a data,how can we come to a conclusion that they are exponentially related and then use logest or growth to predict the further values.please help me

Petr,

As described on the referenced webpage, if x and y have a exponential relationship, i.e. y = abe^x, then ln y = bx + ln a, which is a lineaar relationship. Thus you could use correl between ln y and x to test whether x and y have an exponential relationship.

Charles

wise contributions from all of you guys, my problem has been solved. thank you

For exponential, logarithmic and power trend fits, Excel uses the least square method on the data pairs [x, ln(y)] (in the exponential case).

From this approach inherit two issues:

1) The R-squared given in charts is the one of the linear fit to those [x, ln(y)] pairs. NOT the R-squared of your original data! So do not rely on this value in the chart!

This fact is documented somewhere in Excel … not too easy to find though.

2) The overall approach will in general NOT deliver an optimal fit!!! I can provide examples, where the Excel trend (no matter if calculated as a chart trendline or by a worksheet function like GROWTH) is worse than an exponential fit calculated e.g. with an Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm.

This fact is NOT documented in Excel – maybe not even known to Microsoft.

On the contrary, Excel documentation states that its trends are “best fit”. They are not – always.

So, if you want to be sure whether your data follow an exponential, logarithmic or power pattern: do not rely on Excel!

Jorj,

Sorry that I haven’t responded to your comment earlier, but I have been on vacation for the past few weeks. I appreciate your serious comment and plan to look into it. Based on your comments I may need to provide a new version of the referenced regression algorithms that provide a better fit along the lines that you have suggested.

Charles

Hi Charles.

I just came across this thread and if you have already addressed this issue elsewhere, just ignore my post.

We can view the exponential model as follows. Y has a log-normal distribution while Ln(Y) has a normal distribution. The relationship between the Normal and Log-normal distribution is well defined. For instance, if the variable Ln(Y) has a Normal distribution with mean = mu and standard deviation = sigma, then the variable Y has Log-normal distribution (with parameters mu and sigma). The mean of Y is given by e^(mu + 0.5*Sigma^2). It is NOT e^(mu). Similarly higher order moments can be defined (see Wikipedia Log-normal).

The following notation is not exactly right, but I hope it conveys the message. Excel predicted values are off because of the fact that Excel trend line does prediction as e^(bo + b1X) (where b0 and b1 are the result of regressing Ln(Y) on X). But e^(bo + b1X) is not the expected value of Y given X. The correct expression for the expected value of Y given X should be e^(b0 + b1X + 0.5*MSE). So Excel will consistently under-estimate the expected value of Y given X (unless it is a perfect fit in which case MSE will be 0).

This would be the solution for the Exponential model, but not necessarily for the other models. So Jorj is correct in that the Excel may not be the best approach for non-linear estimation. Most people assume that transformations are easy … they usually are not. And this is a case in point.

Krish,

Thanks for your comments. I had been reluctant to spend the time necessary to implement the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm as suggested by Jorj, but I can see that it is not sufficient to simply accept the approach used by Excel. Shortly I will modify the website to at least comment on the discrepancy and try to come up with a compromise solution.

Charles

Krish,

The latest release of the software, Release 3.8, provides a nonlinear regression solution to the exponential model.

Charles

Jorj,

The latest release of the software, Release 3.8, provides a nonlinear regression solution to the exponential model. I expect to add a description of how to use these new capabilities later today.

Charles

correction:

I meant to say

Is it correct to say that if x increases by delta_x units, y increases by 100*(eˆ(b1*delta_x)-1)%? (for b1 much larger that 0.1)

Hi,

Yes this is correct. I believe this is true for any value of b1, not just for b1 much larger than 0.1, using simple algebra.

Charles

Hello,

I am doing a y=ln(x) regression however I also need to use the residuals. Am I able to just plot the residuals against the original x values? The residuals are in same units as the y values which have not been transformed, so the residuals should still be true for the original data. Is this correct?

Kirsten,

The residuals are based on the model used, not really the original data. The residuals are the difference between the observed and predicted values of the y’s. E.g. suppose the observed values of x are 7.4, 1.6, 2.5, 4.5, 12.2, 8.2, 5.5, 2.1, 2.9 with corresponding observed y values 5.2, 1.9, 2.9, 3.5, 6.7, 5.5, 4.2, 2.1, 3.1. It turns out that the regression model y=ln(x) is a pretty good fit for the data (R-square = .969). The residuals for these data points are 0.006686154, 0.268702213, 0.230696105, -0.536419692, 0.343853242, 0.067925862, -0.303153788, -0.163780455, 0.08549036. You can then plot these values against x. You will see a pretty random plot.

Charles

Exactly how do you arrive at your residual values? Can you please explicitly show us the calculation? As an example, the residual between the observed value x of 7.4 and the observed value y of 5.2.

If you are modelling y = a*e^(bx), then the linear model is lny = bx + lna. The residual of the linear model is the difference between the observed value of lny and the predicted value of lny. For the model in Example 1 of the referenced webpage, when x = 7.4 then the model predicts y to to be 15.828 (although caution should be used since the value for x is a bit output the observed data range). Since you said that the observed value of y is 5.2, the observed value of ln y is ln 5.2 = 2.001 and the predicted value of ln y is ln 15.828 = 2.762, and so the residual is 2.001 – 2.762 = 0.761.

Technically the residual for the exponential model is simply 5.2 – 15.828 = -10.628, although the value in the above paragraph may be more relevant for many purposes.

Charles

hello,

this is a semi-log regression right?

how do we create a log-log regression?

Gary,

What I call exponential regression is sometimes called log-level regression. I have just updated the Exponential Regression webpage to say this. In the next day or so I will be adding a new webpage called Power Regression. This is the same as log-log regression and on this webpage I will explain how to perform this type of regression in Excel. Thanks for your question.

Charles

Update(28 Oct 2013): The changes referenced above have now been made. Please check out the new Power Regression and Multiple Regression with Logarithmic Transformations webpages.You have made an error when you take the log of both sides of the equation, log(a+b) is not equal to log(a)+log(b).

Hi Kevin,

You are 100% correct. I have now removed this unnecessary and careless mistake from the website. Thanks for finding the error.

Charles

Y=aexp^(-x/b)

can any one solve this equation?

Take the natural log of both sides of the equation and then use properties of logs and exp:

ln y = ln(a exp^(-x/b))

ln y = ln a + ln(exp^(-x/b))

ln y = ln a – x/b

x/b = ln a – ln y

x = b ln (a/y)

Charles