### Abstract.

Often in the robust analysis of regression and time series models there is a need for having a robust scale estimator of a scale parameter of the errors. One often used scale estimator is the median of the absolute residuals *s*_{1}. It is of interest to know its limiting distribution and the consistency rate. Its limiting distribution generally depends on the estimator of the regression and/or autoregressive parameter vector unless the errors are symmetrically distributed around zero. To overcome this difficulty it is then natural to use the median of the absolute differences of pairwise residuals, *s*_{2}, as a scale estimator. This paper derives the asymptotic distributions of these two estimators for a large class of nonlinear regression and autoregressive models when the errors are independent and identically distributed. It is found that the asymptotic distribution of a suitably standardizes *s*_{2} is free of the initial estimator of the regression/autoregressive parameters. A similar conclusion also holds for *s*_{1} in linear regression models through the origin and with centered designs, and in linear autoregressive models with zero mean errors.

This paper also investigates the limiting distributions of these estimators in nonlinear regression models with long memory moving average errors. An interesting finding is that if the errors are symmetric around zero, then not only is the limiting distribution of a suitably standardized *s*_{1} free of the regression estimator, but it is degenerate at zero. On the other hand a similarly standardized *s*_{2} converges in distribution to a normal distribution, regardless of the errors being symmetric or not. One clear conclusion is that under the symmetry of the long memory moving average errors, the rate of consistency for *s*_{1} is faster than that of *s*_{2}.