Send to

Choose Destination
Biom J. 2008 Dec;50(6):957-70. doi: 10.1002/bimj.200810482.

The Petersen-Lincoln estimator and its extension to estimate the size of a shared population.

Author information

Institute of Statistics, National Tsing Hua University, Hsin-Chu, Taiwan.


The Petersen-Lincoln estimator has been used to estimate the size of a population in a single mark release experiment. However, the estimator is not valid when the capture sample and recapture sample are not independent. We provide an intuitive interpretation for "independence" between samples based on 2 x 2 categorical data formed by capture/non-capture in each of the two samples. From the interpretation, we review a general measure of "dependence" and quantify the correlation bias of the Petersen-Lincoln estimator when two types of dependences (local list dependence and heterogeneity of capture probability) exist. An important implication in the census undercount problem is that instead of using a post enumeration sample to assess the undercount of a census, one should conduct a prior enumeration sample to avoid correlation bias. We extend the Petersen-Lincoln method to the case of two populations. This new estimator of the size of the shared population is proposed and its variance is derived. We discuss a special case where the correlation bias of the proposed estimator due to dependence between samples vanishes. The proposed method is applied to a study of the relapse rate of illicit drug use in Taiwan.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center