Bayesian confidence intervals for means and variances of lognormal and bivariate lognormal distributions

Harvey J. ; van der Merwe A.J. (2012)


The lognormal distribution is currently used extensively to describe the distribution of positive random variables. This is especially the case with data pertaining to occupational health and other biological data. One particular application of the data is statistical inference with regards to the mean of the data. Other authors, namely Zou et al. (2009), have proposed procedures involving the so-called "method of variance estimates recovery" (MOVER), while an alternative approach based on simulation is the so-called generalized confidence interval, discussed by Krishnamoorthy and Mathew (2003). In this paper we compare the performance of the MOVER-based confidence interval estimates and the generalized confidence interval procedure to coverage of credibility intervals obtained using Bayesian methodology using a variety of different prior distributions to estimate the appropriateness of each. An extensive simulation study is conducted to evaluate the coverage accuracy and interval width of the proposed methods. For the Bayesian approach both the equal-tail and highest posterior density (HPD) credibility intervals are presented. Various prior distributions (Independence Jeffreys' prior, Jeffreys'-Rule prior, namely, the square root of the determinant of the Fisher Information matrix, reference and probability-matching priors) are evaluated and compared to determine which give the best coverage with the most efficient interval width. The simulation studies show that the constructed Bayesian confidence intervals have satisfying coverage probabilities and in some cases outperform the MOVER and generalized confidence interval results. The Bayesian inference procedures (hypothesis tests and confidence intervals) are also extended to the difference between two lognormal means as well as to the case of zero-valued observations and confidence intervals for the lognormal variance. In the last section of this paper the bivariate lognormal distribution is discussed and Bayesian confidence intervals are obtained for the difference between two correlated lognormal means as well as for the ratio of lognormal variances, using nine different priors. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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