Jackknifing, which is similar to bootstrapping, is used in statistical inferencing to estimate the bias and standard error in a statistic, when a random sample of observations is used to calculate it. The basic idea behind the jackknife estimator lies in systematically recomputing the statistic estimate leaving out one observation at a time from the sample set. From this new set of "observations" for the statistic an estimate for the bias can be calculated and an estimate for the variance of the statistic.

Both methods estimate the variability of a statistic from the variability of that statistic between subsamples, rather than from parametric assumptions. The jackknife is a less general technique than the bootstrap, and explores the sample variation differently. However the jackknife is easier to apply to complex sampling schemes, such as multi-stage sampling with varying sampling weights, than the bootstrap.

The jackknife and bootstrap may in many situations yield similar results. But when used to estimate the standard error of a statistic, bootstrap gives slightly different results when repeated on the same data, whereas the jackknife gives exactly the same result each time (assuming the subsets to be removed are the same).

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