A conditional model is a set of conditional distributions, which may be compatible or incompatible, depending on whether or not there exists a joint distribution whose conditionals match the given conditionals. In this paper, we propose a new mathematical tool called a “structural ratio matrix” (SRM) to develop a unified compatibility approach for discrete conditional models. With this approach, we can find all joint pdfs after confirming that the given model is compatible. In practice, it is most likely that the conditional models we encounter are incompatible. Therefore, it is important to investigate approximated joint distributions for them. We use the concept of SRM again to construct an almost compatible joint distribution, with consistency property, to represent the given incompatible conditional model.
Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Volume 157, Pages 115-123