Solved – Examples of when confidence interval and credible interval coincide

In the wikipedia article on Credible Interval, it says:

For the case of a single parameter and
data that can be summarised in a
single sufficient statistic, it can be
shown that the credible interval and
the confidence interval will coincide
if the unknown parameter is a location
parameter (i.e. the forward
probability function has the form Pr(x
| μ) = f(x − μ) ), with a prior that
is a uniform flat distribution;[5] and
also if the unknown parameter is a
scale parameter (i.e. the forward
probability function has the form Pr(x
| s) = f(x / s) ), with a Jeffreys'
prior [5] — the latter following
because taking the logarithm of such a
scale parameter turns it into a
location parameter with a uniform
distribution. But these are distinctly
special (albeit important) cases; in
general no such equivalence can be

Could people give specific examples of this? When does the 95% CI actually correspond to "95% chance", thus "violating" the general definition of CI?

normal distribution:

Take a normal distribution with known variance. We can take this variance to be 1 without losing generality (by simply dividing each observation by the square root of the variance). This has sampling distribution:


Where $A$ is a constant which depends only on the data. This shows that the sample mean is a sufficient statistic for the population mean. If we use a uniform prior, then the posterior distribution for $mu$ will be:

$$(mu|X_{1}…X_{N})sim Normalleft(overline{X},frac{1}{N}right)implies left(sqrt{N}(mu-overline{X})|X_{1}…X_{N}right)sim Normal(0,1)$$

So a $1-alpha$ credible interval will be of the form:


Where $L_{alpha}$ and $U_{alpha}$ are chosen such that a standard normal random variable $Z$ satisfies:


Now we can start from this "pivotal quantity" for constructing a confidence interval. The sampling distribution of $sqrt{N}(mu-overline{X})$ for fixed $mu$ is a standard normal distribution, so we can substitute this into the above probability:


Then re-arrange to solve for $mu$, and the confidence interval will be the same as the credible interval.

Scale parameters:

For scale parameters, the pdfs have the form $p(X_{i}|s)=frac{1}{s}fleft(frac{X_{i}}{s}right)$. We can take the $(X_{i}|s)sim Uniform(0,s)$, which corresponds to $f(t)=1$. The joint sampling distribution is:


From which we find the sufficient statistic to be equal to $X_{max}$ (the maximum of the observations). We now find its sampling distribution:


Now we can make this independent of the parameter by taking $y=qs$. This means our "pivotal quantity" is given by $Q=s^{-1}X_{max}$ with $Pr(Q<q)=q^{N}$ which is the $beta(N,1)$ distribution. So, we can choose $L_{alpha},U_{alpha}$ using the beta quantiles such that:


And we substitute the pivotal quantity:


And there is our confidence interval. For the Bayesian solution with jeffreys prior we have:

$$p(s|X_{1}…X_{N})=frac{s^{-N-1}}{int_{X_{max}}^{infty}r^{-N-1}dr}=N (X_{max})^{N}s^{-N-1}$$ $$implies Pr(s>t|X_{1}…X_{N})=N (X_{max})^{N}int_{t}^{infty}s^{-N-1}ds=left(frac{X_{max}}{t}right)^{N}$$

We now plug in the confidence interval, and calculate its credibility



And presto, we have $1-alpha$ credibility and coverage.

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