On Nonparametric Measures of Dependence for Random Variables
In 1959 A. Renyi proposed a set of axioms for a measure of dependence for pairs of random variables. In the same year A. Sklar introduced the general notion of a copula. This is a function which links an $n$-dimensional distribution function to its one-dimensional margins and is itself a continuous distribution function on the unit $n$-cube, with uniform margins. We show that the copula of a pair of random variables $X, Y$ is invariant under a.s. strictly increasing transformations of $X$ and $Y$, and that any property of the joint distribution function of $X$ and $Y$ which is invariant under such transformations is solely a function of their copula. Exploiting these facts, we use copulas to define several natural nonparametric measures of dependence for pairs of random variables. We show that these measures satisfy reasonable modifications of Renyi's conditions and compare them to various known measures of dependence, e.g., the correlation coefficient and Spearman's $\rho$.
Permanent link to this document: http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.aos/1176345528
Digital Object Identifier: doi:10.1214/aos/1176345528
Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet): MR619291
Zentralblatt MATH identifier: 0468.62012