Asymptotics of the two-stage spatial sign correlation

Alexander Dürre, Daniel Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The spatial sign correlation (Dürre et al., 2015) is a highly robust and easy-to-compute, bivariate correlation estimator based on the spatial sign covariance matrix. Since the estimator is inefficient when the marginal scales strongly differ, a two-stage version was proposed. In the first step, the observations are marginally standardized by means of a robust scale estimator, and in the second step, the spatial sign correlation of the thus transformed data set is computed. Dürre et al. (2015) give some evidence that the asymptotic distribution of the two-stage estimator equals that of the spatial sign correlation at equal marginal scales by comparing their influence functions and presenting simulation results, but give no formal proof. In the present paper, we close this gap and establish the asymptotic normality of the two-stage spatial sign correlation and compute its asymptotic variance for elliptical population distributions. We further derive a variance-stabilizing transformation in the same vein a Fisher’s z-transform. This variance-stabilizing transform is valid for all elliptical distributions and yields very accurate confidence intervals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-67
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Multivariate Analysis
Early online date10 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

This research was supported in part by the Collaborative Research Grant 823 of the German Research Foundation. The authors wish to thank the editors and referees for their careful handling of the manuscript. They further acknowledge the anonymous referees of the article Spatial sign correlation (J. Multivariate Anal. 135, pages 89–105, 2015), who independently of each other suggested to further explore the properties of two-stage spatial sign correlation.


  • stat.ME
  • math.ST
  • stat.TH
  • 62H12, 62G05, 62G35
  • scale estimator
  • spatial sign correlation
  • spatial sign covariance matrix


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