Canadian Journal of Statistics

Bayesian assessment of goodness of fit against nonparametric alternatives

Journal Article


The classical chi‐square test of goodness of fit compares the hypothesis that data arise from some parametric family of distributions, against the nonparametric alternative that they arise from some other distribution. However, the chi‐square test requires continuous data to be grouped into arbitrary categories. Furthermore, as the test is based upon an approximation, it can only be used if there are sufficient data. In practice, these requirements are often wasteful of information and overly restrictive. The authors explore the use of the fractional Bayes factor to obtain a Bayesian alternative to the chi‐square test when no specific prior information is available. They consider the extent to which their methodology can handle small data sets and continuous data without arbitrary grouping.

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