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Directional Log-spline Distributions


  • José T.A.S. Ferreira

    (Edeavour Capital Management)

  • Miguel A Juárez

    (University of Warwick)

  • MArk F.J. Steel

    (University of Warwick)


We introduce a new class of distributions to model directional data, based on hyperspherical log-splines. The class is very flexible and can be used to model data that exhibits features that cannot be accommodated by typical parametric distributions, such as asymmetries and multimodality. The distributions are defined on hyperspheres of any dimension and thus, include the most common circular and spherical cases. Due to the flexibility of hyperspherical log-splines, the distributions can approximate well the distribution of any phenomenon and are as smooth as desired. We propose a Bayesian setup for conducting inference with directional log-spline distributions where we pay particular attention to the prior specification and the matching of the priors of the log-splines model and the model constructed through a mixture of von Mises distributions. We compare both models in the context of three data sets: generated data on the circle, a circular application concerning the movement of turtles and a spherical application on the arrival direction of cosmic rays.

Suggested Citation

  • José T.A.S. Ferreira & Miguel A Juárez & MArk F.J. Steel, 2005. "Directional Log-spline Distributions," Econometrics 0511001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:0511001
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. J. Fernández-Durán, 2004. "Circular Distributions Based on Nonnegative Trigonometric Sums," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 499-503, June.
    2. José T. A. S. Ferreira & Mark F. J. Steel, 2005. "Modelling directional dispersion through hyperspherical log-splines," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 67(4), pages 599-616.
    3. A. Mooney, Jennifer & Helms, Peter J. & Jolliffe, Ian T., 2003. "Fitting mixtures of von Mises distributions: a case study involving sudden infant death syndrome," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-4), pages 505-513, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wiper, Michael Peter & Carnicero, José Antonio, 2008. "A semi-parametric model for circular data based on mixtures of beta distributions," DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS ws081305, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística.

    More about this item


    Directional distributions; hyperspherical splines; mixture of distributions; prior maching; von Mises distributions;

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
    • C4 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling
    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs

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