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This paper presents a methodology based on transforming estimation methods in optimization problems in order to incorporate in a natural way some constraints that contain extra information not considered by standard estimation methods, with the aim of improving the quality of the parameter estimates. We include here three types of such information: bounds for the cumulative distribution function, bounds for the quantiles, and any restrictions on the parameters such as those imposed by the support of the random variable under consideration. The method is quite general and can be applied to many estimation methods such as the maximum likelihood (ML), the method of moments (MOM), the least squares, the least absolute values, and the minimax methods. The performances of the obtained estimates from several families of distributions are investigated for the ML and the MOM, using simulations. The simulation results show that for small sample sizes important gains can be achieved with respect to the case where the above information is ignored. In addition, we discuss sensitivity analysis methods for assessing the influence of observations on the proposed estimators. The method applies to both univariate and multivariate data. (copyright) 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
least absolute value; least squares; maximum likelihood; method of moments; minimax method; weibull distribution