Stochastic order and generalized weighted mean invariance

Mateu Sbert, Jordi Poch, Shuning Chen, Víctor Elvira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we present order invariance theoretical results for weighted quasi-arithmetic means of a monotonic series of numbers. The quasi-arithmetic mean, or Kolmogorov–Nagumo mean, generalizes the classical mean and appears in many disciplines, from information theory to physics, from economics to traffic flow. Stochastic orders are defined on weights (or equivalently, discrete probability distributions). They were introduced to study risk in economics and decision theory, and recently have found utility in Monte Carlo techniques and in image processing. We show in this paper that, if two distributions of weights are ordered under first stochastic order, then for any monotonic series of numbers their weighted quasi-arithmetic means share the same order. This means for instance that arithmetic and harmonic mean for two different distributions of weights always have to be aligned if the weights are stochastically ordered, this is, either both means increase or both decrease. We explore the invariance properties when convex (concave) functions define both the quasi-arithmetic mean and the series of numbers, we show its relationship with increasing concave order and increasing convex order, and we observe the important role played by a new defined mirror property of stochastic orders. We also give some applications to entropy and cross-entropy and present an example of multiple importance sampling Monte Carlo technique that illustrates the usefulness and transversality of our approach. Invariance theorems are useful when a system is represented by a set of quasi-arithmetic means and we want to change the distribution of weights so that all means evolve in the same direction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number662
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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