How to Perform a Breusch-Pagan Test in R

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In the world of regression analysis, it is vital to meet certain assumptions to ensure that your model’s results are unbiased, consistent, and efficient. One of these assumptions pertains to the homoscedasticity of residuals, meaning that the variance of the residuals remains constant across all levels of an independent variable. The Breusch-Pagan (BP) test is a widely employed test to detect heteroscedasticity in regression residuals. In this article, we’ll uncover the ins and outs of the Breusch-Pagan test and guide you through its execution in R.

The Issue of Heteroscedasticity

Heteroscedasticity arises when the variance of the residuals in a regression model is not constant. This violation can lead to inefficient parameter estimates, although they remain unbiased. This can distort hypothesis testing and lead to incorrect standard errors, which in turn affects confidence intervals and p-values.

Breusch-Pagan Test Explained

The Breusch-Pagan test assesses the presence of heteroscedasticity by testing whether the squared residuals from a regression model can be explained by one or more of the independent variables. The idea is that if the variances of the residuals are functionally related to these variables, heteroscedasticity may be present.

The procedure involves:

  1. Estimating your desired regression model and obtaining the residuals.
  2. Squaring these residuals to get a measure of the variance.
  3. Regressing these squared residuals on the original independent variables.
  4. Checking the significance of this auxiliary regression.

Performing the Breusch-Pagan Test in R

Step 1: Install and Load Necessary Packages

Before beginning, ensure you have the lmtest package. If it’s not installed:


Then, load the package:


Step 2: Build the Regression Model

Consider a dataset data with a dependent variable y and independent variable(s) x.

model <- lm(y ~ x, data = data)

Step 3: Execute the Breusch-Pagan Test

Use the bptest() function from the lmtest package to perform the BP test:

bp_result <- bptest(model)

Step 4: Interpret the Results

The bptest() function returns a test statistic and a p-value:

  • p-value < 0.05: Indicates the presence of heteroscedasticity.
  • p-value > 0.05: Suggests no significant heteroscedasticity.

Addressing Heteroscedasticity

If the Breusch-Pagan test indicates heteroscedasticity, consider the following remedies:

  1. Transformations: Applying transformations like logarithm or square root to the dependent variable can stabilize variances.
  2. Weighted Least Squares (WLS): Instead of Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), consider WLS, which gives different weights to different observations.
  3. Robust Standard Errors: Modern statistical software, including R, can compute robust standard errors that adjust for heteroscedasticity.

Key Considerations

  1. Model Specification: Ensure your model is appropriately specified. Heteroscedasticity can sometimes be a symptom of omitted variables or the wrong functional form.
  2. Alternative Tests: While the BP test is valuable, it’s also beneficial to consider other heteroscedasticity tests, such as the White test or Goldfeld-Quandt test, especially if the results are borderline.
  3. Purpose of Analysis: If you’re primarily concerned with prediction rather than inference, heteroscedasticity may not be as problematic. However, for hypothesis testing, it’s vital to address it.


The Breusch-Pagan test serves as a robust tool to detect heteroscedasticity in regression models, allowing analysts and researchers to ensure their models are sound and reliable. By understanding the BP test’s mechanics and knowing how to implement it in R, one can make more informed decisions about their regression analysis.

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