Stein hypothesis and screening effect for covariances with compact support

Emilio Porcu, Viktor Zastavnyi, Moreno Bevilacqua, Xavier Emery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In spatial statistics, the screening effect historically refers to the situation when the observations located far from the predictand receive a small (ideally, zero) kriging weight. Several factors play a crucial role in this phenomenon: among them, the spatial design, the dimension of the spatial domain where the observations are defined, the mean-square properties of the underlying random field and its covariance function or, equivalently, its spectral density. The tour de force by Michael L. Stein provides a formal definition of the screening effect and puts emphasis on the Matérn covariance function, advocated as a good covariance function to yield such an effect. Yet, it is often recommended not to use covariance functions with a compact support. This paper shows that some classes of covariance functions being compactly supported allow for a screening effect according to Stein’s definition, in both regular and irregular settings of the spatial design. Further, numerical experiments suggest that the screening effect under a class of compactly supported covariance functions is even stronger than the screening effect under a Matérn model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2510-2528
Number of pages19
JournalElectronic Journal of Statistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Compact support
  • Covariance function
  • Generalized Wendland
  • Matérn
  • Screening effect
  • Spatial prediction


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