Cramér–von Mises criterion

In statistics the Cramér–von Mises criterion is a criterion used for judging the goodness of fit of a cumulative distribution function compared to a given empirical distribution function , or for comparing two empirical distributions. It is also used as a part of other algorithms, such as minimum distance estimation. It is defined as

In one-sample applications is the theoretical distribution and is the empirically observed distribution. Alternatively the two distributions can both be empirically estimated ones; this is called the two-sample case.

The criterion is named after Harald Cramér and Richard Edler von Mises who first proposed it in 1928–1930.[1][2] The generalization to two samples is due to Anderson.[3]

The Cramér–von Mises test is an alternative to the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test (1933).[4]

Cramér–von Mises test (one sample)Edit

Let   be the observed values, in increasing order. Then the statistic is[3]:1153[5]


If this value is larger than the tabulated value, then the hypothesis that the data came from the distribution   can be rejected.

Watson testEdit

A modified version of the Cramér–von Mises test is the Watson test[6] which uses the statistic U2, where[5]




Cramér–von Mises test (two samples)Edit

Let   and   be the observed values in the first and second sample respectively, in increasing order. Let   be the ranks of the x's in the combined sample, and let   be the ranks of the y's in the combined sample. Anderson[3]:1149 shows that


where U is defined as


If the value of T is larger than the tabulated values,[3]:1154–1159 the hypothesis that the two samples come from the same distribution can be rejected. (Some books[specify] give critical values for U, which is more convenient, as it avoids the need to compute T via the expression above. The conclusion will be the same).

The above assumes there are no duplicates in the  ,  , and   sequences. So   is unique, and its rank is   in the sorted list  . If there are duplicates, and   through   are a run of identical values in the sorted list, then one common approach is the midrank[7] method: assign each duplicate a "rank" of  . In the above equations, in the expressions   and  , duplicates can modify all four variables  ,  ,  , and  .


  1. ^ Cramér, H. (1928). "On the Composition of Elementary Errors". Scandinavian Actuarial Journal. 1928 (1): 13–74. doi:10.1080/03461238.1928.10416862.
  2. ^ von Mises, R. E. (1928). Wahrscheinlichkeit, Statistik und Wahrheit. Julius Springer.
  3. ^ a b c d Anderson, T. W. (1962). "On the Distribution of the Two-Sample Cramer–von Mises Criterion" (PDF). Annals of Mathematical Statistics. Institute of Mathematical Statistics. 33 (3): 1148–1159. doi:10.1214/aoms/1177704477. ISSN 0003-4851. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  4. ^ A.N. Kolmogorov, "Sulla determinizione empirica di una legge di distribuzione" Giorn. Ist. Ital. Attuari , 4 (1933) pp. 83–91
  5. ^ a b Pearson, E.S., Hartley, H.O. (1972) Biometrika Tables for Statisticians, Volume 2, CUP. ISBN 0-521-06937-8 (page 118 and Table 54)
  6. ^ Watson, G.S. (1961) "Goodness-Of-Fit Tests on a Circle", Biometrika, 48 (1/2), 109-114 JSTOR 2333135
  7. ^ Ruymgaart, F. H., (1980) "A unified approach to the asymptotic distribution theory of certain midrank statistics". In: Statistique non Parametrique Asymptotique, 1±18, J. P. Raoult (Ed.), Lecture Notes on Mathematics, No. 821, Springer, Berlin.
  • M. A. Stephens (1986). "Tests Based on EDF Statistics". In D'Agostino, R.B.; Stephens, M.A. (eds.). Goodness-of-Fit Techniques. New York: Marcel Dekker. ISBN 0-8247-7487-6.

Further readingEdit