Bayesian model selection without evidences: Application to the dark energy equation-of-state

08 Sep 2017

A method is presented for Bayesian model selection without explicitly computing evidences, by using a combined likelihood and introducing an integer model selection parameter n so that Bayes factors, or more generally posterior odds ratios, may be read off directly from the posterior of n. If the total number of models under consideration is specified a priori, the full joint parameter space (θ, n) of the models is of fixed dimensionality and can be explored using standard Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) or nested sampling methods, without the need for reversible jump MCMC techniques. The posterior on n is then obtained by straightforward marginalization. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach by application to several toy models. We then apply it to constraining the dark energy equation of state using a free-form reconstruction technique. We show that Λ cold dark matter is significantly favoured over all extensions, including the simple w(z) = constant model.