IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding the shape of the mixture failure rate (with engineering and demographic applications)


  • Maxim S. Finkelstein

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


Mixtures of distributions are usually effectively used for modeling heterogeneity. It is well known that mixtures of DFR distributions are always DFR. On the other hand, mixtures of IFR distributions can decrease, at least in some intervals of time. As IFR distributions often model lifetimes governed by ageing processes, the operation of mixing can dramatically change the pattern of ageing. Therefore, the study of the shape of the observed (mixture) failure rate in a heterogeneous setting is important in many applications. We study discrete and continuous mixtures, obtain conditions for the mixture failure rate to tend to the failure rate of the strongest populations and describe asymptotic behavior as t tends to infty. Some demographic and engineering examples are considered. The corresponding inverse problem is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxim S. Finkelstein, 2009. "Understanding the shape of the mixture failure rate (with engineering and demographic applications)," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-031, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2009-031

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Steinsaltz & Kenneth Wachter, 2006. "Understanding Mortality Rate Deceleration and Heterogeneity," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 19-37.
    2. Maxim Finkelstein & James W. Vaupel, 2006. "The relative tail of longevity and the mean remaining lifetime," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 14(7), pages 111-138, February.
    3. A. R. Thatcher, 1999. "The long-term pattern of adult mortality and the highest attained age," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 162(1), pages 5-43.
    4. Jorge Navarro & Pedro Hernandez, 2008. "Mean residual life functions of finite mixtures, order statistics and coherent systems," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 277-298, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cha, Ji Hwan & Finkelstein, Maxim, 2011. "Burn-in and the performance quality measures in heterogeneous populations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 210(2), pages 273-280, April.
    2. repec:eee:reensy:v:112:y:2013:i:c:p:120-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lai, Chin-Diew & Izadi, Muhyiddin, 2012. "Generalized logistic frailty model," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(11), pages 1969-1977.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2009-031. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.