Shape parameter

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In probability theory and statistics, a shape parameter (also known as form parameter) [1] is a kind of numerical parameter of a parametric family of probability distributions [2] that is neither a location parameter nor a scale parameter (nor a function of these, such as a rate parameter). Such a parameter must affect the shape of a distribution rather than simply shifting it (as a location parameter does) or stretching/shrinking it (as a scale parameter does).

Contents

Estimation

Many estimators measure location or scale; however, estimators for shape parameters also exist. Most simply, they can be estimated in terms of the higher moments, using the method of moments, as in the skewness (3rd moment) or kurtosis (4th moment), if the higher moments are defined and finite. Estimators of shape often involve higher-order statistics (non-linear functions of the data), as in the higher moments, but linear estimators also exist, such as the L-moments. Maximum likelihood estimation can also be used.

Examples

The following continuous probability distributions have a shape parameter:

By contrast, the following continuous distributions do not have a shape parameter, so their shape is fixed and only their location or their scale or both can change. It follows that (where they exist) the skewness and kurtosis of these distribution are constants, as skewness and kurtosis are independent of location and scale parameters.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Beta distribution Probability distribution

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Gamma distribution Probability distribution

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  1. With a shape parameter k and a scale parameter θ.
  2. With a shape parameter α = k and an inverse scale parameter β = 1/θ, called a rate parameter.

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Log-logistic distribution

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The Lomax distribution, conditionally also called the Pareto Type II distribution, is a heavy-tail probability distribution used in business, economics, actuarial science, queueing theory and Internet traffic modeling. It is named after K. S. Lomax. It is essentially a Pareto distribution that has been shifted so that its support begins at zero.

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In probability theory, an exponentially modified Gaussian distribution describes the sum of independent normal and exponential random variables. An exGaussian random variable Z may be expressed as Z = X + Y, where X and Y are independent, X is Gaussian with mean μ and variance σ2, and Y is exponential of rate λ. It has a characteristic positive skew from the exponential component.

Harmonic distribution

In probability theory and statistics, the harmonic distribution is a continuous probability distribution. It was discovered by Étienne Halphen, who had become interested in the statistical modeling of natural events. His practical experience in data analysis motivated him to pioneer a new system of distributions that provided sufficient flexibility to fit a large variety of data sets. Halphen restricted his search to distributions whose parameters could be estimated using simple statistical approaches. Then, Halphen introduced for the first time what he called the harmonic distribution or harmonic law. The harmonic law is a special case of the generalized inverse Gaussian distribution family when .

References

  1. http://repository.lppm.unila.ac.id/120/1/23%20On%20the%20Moments,%20Cumulants,%20and%20Characteristic%20Function%20of%20the%20Log-Logistic%20Distribution.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]
  2. Everitt B.S. (2002) Cambridge Dictionary of Statistics. 2nd Edition. CUP. ISBN   0-521-81099-X