Suppose $X$ is a $p$-dimensional multivariate normal random variable with conditional distribution

$$f_X (x\mid Z=z) = \mathcal{N}(\mu + Az, I\sigma^2),$$

Further suppose that

$$Z\sim \mathcal{N}(0, I),$$

where $Z$ is a $q$-dimensional multivariate normal random variable. (So in fact, $A$ is a $p\times q$ matrix.)

What is the joint distribution of $X$ and $Z$? In other words, what is the pdf


We can assume all the independence that we want (i.e. all $x_i$'s and $z_j$'s are independent)

I spent quite some time googling but all the examples I came across seem to implicitly assume that $X$ and $Y$ have the same dimension. For example, in this Matrix Cookbook page 41, it talks about "product of Gaussian density" but assumes that two input vectors need to have same dimensions.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you mean "What is the distribution of $Y$?" ? The distribution of $X$ is just what you said it is. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2017 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy My wording was probably confusing. Edited. $\endgroup$
    – 3x89g2
    Oct 3, 2017 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… From this wiki you know the result that the conditional distribution of a multivariate normal is still multivariate normal. Can you match the result with your parameters? If yes you can arrive the converse result. $\endgroup$
    – BGM
    Oct 3, 2017 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ @BGM I did the computation and matched the results. However, I don't see where I used the assumptions that everything are independent? Usually what conditions will allow us to say that two jointly normal r.v. $X$ and $Y$ are again jointly normal if we "stack them together"? $\endgroup$
    – 3x89g2
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


$$ X \mid Z=z \sim \mathcal{N}(\mu + Az, \sigma^2 I) $$ $$ (X- AZ) \mid (Z=z) \sim\mathcal{N}(\mu,\sigma^2 I) $$ Since the conditional distribution of $X-AZ$ given $Z$ does not depend on $Z,$ we must conclude that (1) $X-AZ$ and $Z$ are independent, and (2) the marginal (or "unconditional") distribution of $X-AZ$ is that same distribution.

Thus we have $$ X-AZ\sim\mathcal N(\mu,\sigma^2 I) $$ and $$ (X-Az) \text{ and } Z \text{ are independent.} $$ Thus $$ \begin{bmatrix} X-AZ \\ Z \end{bmatrix} \sim \mathcal N \left( \begin{bmatrix} \mu \\ 0 \end{bmatrix}, \begin{bmatrix} \sigma^2 I & 0 \\ 0 & I \end{bmatrix} \right). $$ $$ \begin{bmatrix} X \\ Z \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} I & A \\ 0 & I \end{bmatrix} \begin{bmatrix} X-AZ \\ Z \end{bmatrix} $$

Therefore $\begin{bmatrix} X \\ Z \end{bmatrix}$ is multivariate normal and $$ \operatorname{E}\begin{bmatrix} X \\ Z \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} I & A \\ 0 & I \end{bmatrix} \operatorname{E} \begin{bmatrix} X-AZ \\ Z \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} I & A \\ 0 & I \end{bmatrix} \begin{bmatrix} \mu \\ 0 \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} \mu \\ 0 \end{bmatrix}, $$ and $$ \operatorname{var} \begin{bmatrix} X \\ Z \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} I & A \\ 0 & I \end{bmatrix} \begin{bmatrix} \sigma^2 I & 0 \\ 0 & I \end{bmatrix} \begin{bmatrix} I & 0 \\ A^T & I \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} \sigma^2 I + A A^T & A \\ A^T & I \end{bmatrix}. $$

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Aha! $X - Az$ and $Z$ are independent was the missing piece. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – 3x89g2
    Oct 3, 2017 at 22:00

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