Statistics Surveys

Estimating the size of a hidden finite set: Large-sample behavior of estimators

Si Cheng, Daniel J. Eck, and Forrest W. Crawford

Full-text: Open access

Abstract

A finite set is “hidden” if its elements are not directly enumerable or if its size cannot be ascertained via a deterministic query. In public health, epidemiology, demography, ecology and intelligence analysis, researchers have developed a wide variety of indirect statistical approaches, under different models for sampling and observation, for estimating the size of a hidden set. Some methods make use of random sampling with known or estimable sampling probabilities, and others make structural assumptions about relationships (e.g. ordering or network information) between the elements that comprise the hidden set. In this review, we describe models and methods for learning about the size of a hidden finite set, with special attention to asymptotic properties of estimators. We study the properties of these methods under two asymptotic regimes, “infill” in which the number of fixed-size samples increases, but the population size remains constant, and “outfill” in which the sample size and population size grow together. Statistical properties under these two regimes can be dramatically different.

Article information

Source
Statist. Surv., Volume 14 (2020), 1-31.

Dates
Received: February 2019
First available in Project Euclid: 4 January 2020

Permanent link to this document
https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ssu/1578106918

Digital Object Identifier
doi:10.1214/19-SS127

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)
MR4047588

Zentralblatt MATH identifier
07154964

Subjects
Primary: 62D05: Sampling theory, sample surveys 62F12: Asymptotic properties of estimators 62P25: Applications to social sciences

Keywords
Capture-recapture German tank problem multiplier method network scale-up method

Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Citation

Cheng, Si; Eck, Daniel J.; Crawford, Forrest W. Estimating the size of a hidden finite set: Large-sample behavior of estimators. Statist. Surv. 14 (2020), 1--31. doi:10.1214/19-SS127. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ssu/1578106918


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