The Maximal Variation of Martingales of Probabilities and Repeated Games with Incomplete Information

JF - Journal of Theoretical Probability Y1 - 2013 A1 - Abraham Neyman AB -The variation of a martingale m[k] of k+1 probabilities p(0),...,p(k) on a finite (or countable) set X is the expectation of the sum of ||p(t)-p(t-1)|| (the L one norm of the martingale differences p(t)-p(t-1)), and is denoted V(m[k]). It is shown that V(m[k]) is less than or equal to the square root of 2kH(p(0)), where H(p) is the entropy function (the some over x in X of p(x)log p(x) and log stands for the natural logarithm. Therefore, if d is the number of elements of X, then V(m[k]) is less than or equal to the square root of 2k(log d). It is shown that the order of magnitude of this bound is tight for d less than or equal to 2 to the power k: there is C>0 such that for every k and d less than or equal to 2 to the power k there is a martingale m[k]=p(0),...,p(k) of probabilities on a set X with d elements, and with variation V(m[k]) that is greater or equal the square root of Ck(log d). It follows that the difference between the value of the k-stage repeated game with incomplete information on one side and with d states, denoted v(k), and the limit of v(k), as k goes to infinity, is bounded by the maximal absolute value of a stage payoff times the square root of 2(log d)/k, and it is shown that the order of magnitude of this bound is tight.

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