For any two random variables X and Y with distributions F and G defined on [0,∞), X is said to stochastically precede Y if P(XY) ≥ 1/2. For independent X and Y, stochastic precedence (denoted by XspY) is equivalent to E[G(X–)] ≤ 1/2. The applicability of stochastic precedence in various statistical contexts, including reliability modeling, tests for distributional equality versus various alternatives, and the relative performance of comparable tolerance bounds, is discussed. The problem of estimating the underlying distribution(s) of experimental data under the assumption that they obey a stochastic precedence (sp) constraint is treated in detail. Two estimation approaches, one based on data shrinkage and the other involving data translation, are used to construct estimators that conform to the sp constraint, and each is shown to lead to a root n-consistent estimator of the underlying distribution. The asymptotic behavior of each of the estimators is fully characterized. Conditions are given under which each estimator is asymptotically equivalent to the corresponding empirical distribution function or, in the case of right censoring, the Kaplan–Meier estimator. In the complementary cases, evidence is presented, both analytically and via simulation, demonstrating that the new estimators tend to outperform the empirical distribution function when sample sizes are sufficiently large.

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Copyright © 2002 Taylor & Francis.

DOI: 10.1198/016214502753479310

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Arcones, Miguel A., Paul H. Kvam, and Francisco J. Samaniego. "Nonparametric Estimation of a Distribution Subject to a Stochastic Precedence Constraint." Journal of the American Statistical Association 97, no. 457 (2002): 170-182. doi:10.1198/016214502753479310.