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An objective approach to prior mass functions for discrete parameter spaces.

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Cristiano VillaORCiD


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We present a novel approach to constructing objective prior distributions for discrete parameter spaces. These types of parameter spaces are particularly problematic, as it appears that common objective procedures to design prior distributions are problem specific. We propose an objective criterion, based on loss functions, instead of trying to define objective probabilities directly. We systematically apply this criterion to a series of discrete scenarios, previously considered in the literature, and compare the priors. The proposed approach applies to any discrete parameter space, making it appealing as it does not involve different concepts according to the model. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Villa C, Walker SG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the American Statistical Association

Year: 2015

Volume: 110

Issue: 511

Pages: 1072-1082

Online publication date: 07/11/2015

Acceptance date: 05/08/2014

ISSN (print): 0162-1459

ISSN (electronic): 1537-274X

Publisher: American Statistical Association


DOI: 10.1080/01621459.2014.946319


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