Investigations of spatial statistics, computed from lattice data in the plane, can lead to a special lattice point counting problem. The statistical goal is to expand the asymptotic expectation or large-sample bias of certain spatial covariance estimators, where this bias typically depends on the shape of a spatial sampling region. In particular, such bias expansions often require approximating a difference between two lattice point counts, where the counts correspond to a set of increasing domain (i.e., the sampling region) and an intersection of this set with a vector translate of itself. Non-trivially, the approximation error needs to be of smaller order than the spatial region’s perimeter length. For all convex regions in 2-dimensional Euclidean space and certain unions of convex sets, we show that a difference in areas can approximate a difference in lattice point counts to this required accuracy, even though area can poorly measure the lattice point count of any single set involved in the difference. When investigating large-sample properties of spatial estimators, this approximation result facilitates direct calculation of limiting bias, because, unlike counts, differences in areas are often tractable to compute even with non-rectangular regions. We illustrate the counting approximations with two statistical examples.
Volume 130, 2020
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