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Approximation and Estimation of s-Concave Densities via R\'enyi Divergences

  • Han, Qiyang
  • Wellner, Jon A.
Publication Date
Oct 22, 2015
Submission Date
May 02, 2015
arXiv ID: 1505.00379
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In this paper, we study the approximation and estimation of $s$-concave densities via R\'enyi divergence. We first show that the approximation of a probability measure $Q$ by an $s$-concave densities exists and is unique via the procedure of minimizing a divergence functional proposed by Koenker and Mizera (2010) if and only if $Q$ admits full-dimensional support and a first moment. We also show continuity of the divergence functional in $Q$: if $Q_n \to Q$ in the Wasserstein metric, then the projected densities converge in weighted $L_1$ metrics and uniformly on closed subsets of the continuity set of the limit. Moreover, directional derivatives of the projected densities also enjoy local uniform convergence. This contains both on-the-model and off-the-model situations, and entails strong consistency of the divergence estimator of an $s$-concave density under mild conditions. One interesting and important feature for the R\'enyi divergence estimator of an $s$-concave density is that the estimator is intrinsically related with the estimation of log-concave densities via maximum likelihood methods. In fact, we show that for $d=1$ at least, the R\'enyi divergence estimators for $s$-concave densities converge to the maximum likelihood estimator of a log-concave density as $s \nearrow 0$. The R\'enyi divergence estimator shares similar characterizations as the MLE for log-concave distributions, which allows us to develop pointwise asymptotic distribution theory assuming that the underlying density is $s$-concave.

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