Maozhen Gong

Publication Date



Selecting an appropriate prior distribution is a fundamental issue in Bayesian Statistics. In this dissertation, under the framework provided by Berger and Bernardo, I derive the reference priors for several models which include: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)/Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) models with a categorical variable under common ordering constraints, the conditionally autoregressive (CAR) models and the simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) models with a spatial autoregression parameter considered. The performances of reference priors for ANOVA/ANCOVA models are evaluated by simulation studies with comparisons to Jeffreys' prior and Least Squares Estimation (LSE). The priors are then illustrated in a Bayesian model of the "Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in New Mexico" data, where the relationship between the type 2 diabetes risk (through Hemoglobin A1c) and different smoking levels is investigated. In both simulation studies and real data set modeling, the reference priors that incorporate internal order information show good performances and can be used as default priors. The reference priors for the CAR and SAR models are also illustrated in the "1999 SAT State Average Verbal Scores" data with a comparison to a Uniform prior distribution. Due to the complexity of the reference priors for both CAR and SAR models, only a portion (12 states in the Midwest) of the original data set is considered. The reference priors can give a different marginal posterior distribution compared to a Uniform prior, which provides an alternative for prior specifications for areal data in Spatial statistics.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Mathematics & Statistics

First Advisor

Huerta, Gabriel

First Committee Member (Chair)

Erhardt, Erik

Second Committee Member

Zhang, Guoyi

Third Committee Member

Luan, Shuang




Bayesian Models, Non-informative priors, Markov chain Monte Carlo.

Document Type