Effects of prior distributions: an application to pipedwater demand

Andrés Ramírez Hassan, Luis Pericchi

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In this paper, we analyze the effect on posterior parameter distributions of four possible alternative prior distributions, namely Normal-Inverse Gamma, Normal-Scaled Beta two, Student’s t-Inverse Gamma and Student’s t-Scaled Beta two. We show the effects of these prior distributions when there is apparently conflict between the sample information and the elicited hyperparameters. In particular, we show that there is not systematic differences of posterior parameter distributions associated with these four priors using data of piped water demand in a linear model with autoregressive errors. To test the hypothesis that this result is due to using a moderate sample size and a relatively high level of expert’s uncertainty, we perform some simulation exercises assuming smaller sample sizes and lower expert’s uncertainty. We obtain the general same pattern, although Student’s t models are slightly less affected by prior information when there is a high level of expert’s certainty, and Scaled Beta two models exhibit a higher level of posterior dispersion of the variance parameter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBrazilian Journal of Probability and Statistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoregressive model
  • Bayesian analysis
  • Elicitation
  • Robustness analysis

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