Discrete chain graph models

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70 Scopus citations


The statistical literature discusses different types of Markov properties for chain graphs that lead to four possible classes of chain graph Markov models. The different models are rather well understood when the observations are continuous and multivariate normal, and it is also known that one model class, referred to as models of LWF (Lauritzen-Wermuth-Frydenberg) or block concentration type, yields discrete models for categorical data that are smooth. This paper considers the structural properties of the discrete models based on the three alternative Markov properties. It is shown by example that two of the alternative Markov properties can lead to non-smooth models. The remaining model class, which can be viewed as a discrete version of multivariate regressions, is proven to comprise only smooth models. The proof employs a simple change of coordinates that also reveals that the model's likelihood function is unimodal if the chain components of the graph are complete sets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-753
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Algebraic statistics
  • Categorical data
  • Conditional independence
  • Graphical model
  • Markov property
  • Path diagram


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