# Local asymptotic normality

In statistics, local asymptotic normality is a property of a sequence of statistical models, which allows this sequence to be asymptotically approximated by a normal location model, after a rescaling of the parameter. An important example when the local asymptotic normality holds is in the case of iid sampling from a regular parametric model.

The notion of local asymptotic normality was introduced by Le Cam (1960).

## Definition

A sequence of parametric statistical models { Pn,θ: θ ∈ Θ } is said to be locally asymptotically normal (LAN) at θ if there exist matrices rn and Iθ and a random vector Δn,θ ~ N(0, Iθ) such that, for every converging sequence hnh,[1]

${\displaystyle \ln {\frac {dP_{\!n,\theta +r_{n}^{-1}h_{n}}}{dP_{n,\theta }}}=h'\Delta _{n,\theta }-{\frac {1}{2}}h'I_{\theta }\,h+o_{P_{n,\theta }}(1),}$

where the derivative here is a Radon–Nikodym derivative, which is a formalised version of the likelihood ratio, and where o is a type of big O in probability notation. In other words, the local likelihood ratio must converge in distribution to a normal random variable whose mean is equal to minus one half the variance:

${\displaystyle \ln {\frac {dP_{\!n,\theta +r_{n}^{-1}h_{n}}}{dP_{n,\theta }}}\ \ {\xrightarrow {d}}\ \ {\mathcal {N}}{\Big (}{-{\tfrac {1}{2}}}h'I_{\theta }\,h,\ h'I_{\theta }\,h{\Big )}.}$

The sequences of distributions ${\displaystyle P_{\!n,\theta +r_{n}^{-1}h_{n}}}$ and ${\displaystyle P_{n,\theta }}$ are contiguous.[1]

### Example

The most straightforward example of a LAN model is an iid model whose likelihood is twice continuously differentiable. Suppose { X1, X2, …, Xn} is an iid sample, where each Xi has density function f(x, θ). The likelihood function of the model is equal to

${\displaystyle p_{n,\theta }(x_{1},\ldots ,x_{n};\,\theta )=\prod _{i=1}^{n}f(x_{i},\theta ).}$

If f is twice continuously differentiable in θ, then

{\displaystyle {\begin{aligned}\ln p_{n,\theta +\delta \theta }&\approx \ln p_{n,\theta }+\delta \theta '{\frac {\partial \ln p_{n,\theta }}{\partial \theta }}+{\frac {1}{2}}\delta \theta '{\frac {\partial ^{2}\ln p_{n,\theta }}{\partial \theta \,\partial \theta '}}\delta \theta \\&=\ln p_{n,\theta }+\delta \theta '\sum _{i=1}^{n}{\frac {\partial \ln f(x_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta }}+{\frac {1}{2}}\delta \theta '{\bigg [}\sum _{i=1}^{n}{\frac {\partial ^{2}\ln f(x_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta \,\partial \theta '}}{\bigg ]}\delta \theta .\end{aligned}}}

Plugging in ${\displaystyle \delta \theta =h/{\sqrt {n}}}$, gives

${\displaystyle \ln {\frac {p_{n,\theta +h/{\sqrt {n}}}}{p_{n,\theta }}}=h'{\Bigg (}{\frac {1}{\sqrt {n}}}\sum _{i=1}^{n}{\frac {\partial \ln f(x_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta }}{\Bigg )}\;-\;{\frac {1}{2}}h'{\Bigg (}{\frac {1}{n}}\sum _{i=1}^{n}-{\frac {\partial ^{2}\ln f(x_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta \,\partial \theta '}}{\Bigg )}h\;+\;o_{p}(1).}$

By the central limit theorem, the first term (in parentheses) converges in distribution to a normal random variable Δθ ~ N(0, Iθ), whereas by the law of large numbers the expression in second parentheses converges in probability to Iθ, which is the Fisher information matrix:

${\displaystyle I_{\theta }=\mathrm {E} {\bigg [}{-{\frac {\partial ^{2}\ln f(X_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta \,\partial \theta '}}}{\bigg ]}=\mathrm {E} {\bigg [}{\bigg (}{\frac {\partial \ln f(X_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta }}{\bigg )}{\bigg (}{\frac {\partial \ln f(X_{i},\theta )}{\partial \theta }}{\bigg )}'\,{\bigg ]}.}$

Thus, the definition of the local asymptotic normality is satisfied, and we have confirmed that the parametric model with iid observations and twice continuously differentiable likelihood has the LAN property.