Many statistical models may be
represented by
(I.III1)
with the three elements
(I.III2)
Sometimes it is possible to describe the
probability measure in (I.III2) by the probability
density function (pdf)
(I.III3)
If a sample of observations is independent, identically
distributed (iid) then the pdf can be written as
(I.III4)
In Bayesian statistics an additional element is
available. A prior pdf
(I.III5)
is introduced into the model
(I.III6)
The prior pdf represents prior information about the
possible parameter values (without using the observations).
(I.III7)
(I.III8)
The aim of a lot of statistical research is to provide
adequate theories and procedures in order to be able to
A variable is called a random (c.q. stochastic) variable
if the possible values of the variable have different probabilities.
Therefore a random variable always has a probability
density function (pdf) and a probability
distribution.
The relationship between distributions and probabilities
can be defined as
(I.III9)
where
f(X) is the probability density function.
A cumulative
probability distribution is defined as follows
(I.III10)
for discrete distributions, or as
(I.III11)
for
continuous distributions.
There are three properties
of cumulative probability distributions (c.q. ogives):
Furthermore there is the very important notion of expectation
that we 'll define now as
(I.III12)
or
(I.III13)
according
to Jeffreys' definition. Both expressions (I.III12) and (I.III13)
are formulated for discrete variables.
Alternate definitions for continuous variables are
(I.III14)
or
(I.III15)
according
to Jeffreys.
Some very interesting properties of expectations have to be considered in order to provide
us a sound mathematical basis for several proofs and theorems to be
discussed in the following chapters:

E(a X
+ b) = a E(X) + b where
E(b) = b

E(g(X) + h(X)) = E(g(X)) + E(h(X))

E(X + Y) = E(X) + E(Y)

E(X Y) = E(X) E(Y)
if, and only if
(a and b are real
numbers).
The mathematical expectation can be thought
of as the most probable value of a variable.
The variance
of a random variable is another very important property of
probability distributions. It is in fact a measure for the spread of
a stochastic variable. The easiest way to define a variance is by
means of mathematical expectations as
(I.III16)
or
(I.III17)
Equation (I.III17) can be proved using (I.III16) and
the four properties of expectations as follows
Of course variances
have properties similar
to the properties of expectations
(I.III18)
and
(I.III19)
It can be shown that centered moments can quite easily
be computed from uncentered moments
(I.III20)
(see also eq. (I.III17)).
A probability distribution function can be
characterized by its centered and uncentered moments (e.g., mean,
variance, ...). Therefore a general method of deriving uncentered
moments would be a very nice thing to have (the centered moments
would then be computed from the conversion formulae (I.III20)).
This is not wishful thinking since the moment
generating function of a discrete stochastic variable
(I.III21)
(I.III22)
Eq. (I.III22) can be proved as
(I.III23)
The covariance
between two random variables can be defined easily using
mathematical expectations
(I.III24)
or equivalently
(I.III25)
whereas the correlation
is derived from the covariance as
(I.III26)
The correlation between X and Y, as defined
in, (I.III26) lies between 1 and 1.
Intuitively the covariance and the
correlation can be thought of as a measure
of collinearity of the points in a scatter
plot (a plot of variable Y against the corresponding values of
X). The only difference between covariance and correlation is that
the latter has been standardized and is therefore independent of
both variables' dimension.
Above this, it is important to understand the following
relationship
(I.III27)
which
clearly states that the implication is valid in one direction only, since the covariance and the correlation are by
definition measures for linear relationships while the dependence of two random variables
could by of any kind (linear and nonlinear)!
So far nothing has been said about the
probability distributions of the random variables. Theoretically of
course there are an infinite number of possible probability density
functions but only few of them are worthwhile discussing shortly
because of their immense importance in econometrics and statistics.
The binomial
distribution can be defined as
(I.III28)
where
(I.III29)
and
p = chance of a success
q
= chance of a failure
p
+ q = 1
n
= number of independent draws
X
= number of successes.
Furthermore E(X) = n p and V(X) = n p q.
This can be proved by using the moment generating function
(I.III21) of (I.III28) and applying (I.III22) to it.
The binomial distribution is of huge
importance in quality control and experimental design.
The most important probability distribution in
statistics though is the normal
distribution. This function is defined as follows
(I.III30)
with
(I.III31)
The mean and variance can be derived from
the moment generating function. Above that, any normal distribution
function is perfectly identified by its mean and variance.
The fact that a random variable is normally distributed can be denoted as
(I.III32)
Having introduced this kind of notation for normal
distributions, it is quite easy to describe the socalled additivity property.
(I.III33)
then, it follows that
(I.III34)
In other words, a linear function of
normally distributed random variables is also normally distributed!
Proof for the generalized additivity property for
independent variables is straightforward
(I.III35)
(for independent X_{t} variables) since on using
the moment generating function we obtain
(I.III36)
(I.III37)
(I.III38)
(I.III39)
(I.III40)
according to the explicit expression of the
moment generating function of normal stochastic variables, yielding
finally
(I.III41)
which
proves the property (Q.E.D.).
Analogously a generalized additivity
property for dependent variables can be obtained (see eq. (I.III33)
and (I.III34)). This is however not necessary in our further
discussions and thus beyond the scope of this work.
Derived from the normal distribution is the lognormal
distribution. A random variable is lognormally distributed if, and
only if
(I.III42)
and if (by definition of ln)
(I.III43)
The expectation and variance of this probability density
function is given by
(I.III44)
As previously stated a probability distribution function
of a random variable can be formulated using probability theory,
e.g., in (I.III9) and (I.III11). It is however imperative to
formalize another link between probability and distribution theory:
the BienayméChebyshev
theorem (or inequality).
(I.III45)
Since we defined in (I.III45)
(I.III46)
it is obvious that, on combining (I.III45) and
(I.III46), the following holds
(I.III47)
which
is the BienayméChebyshev inequality.
