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Comparing Different Information Levels

Uwe Saint-Mont


Given a sequence of random variables X = X1, X2, . . .suppose the aim is to maximize one’s return by picking a ‘favorable’ Xi. Obviously, the expected payoff crucially depends on the information at hand. An optimally informed person knows all the values Xi = xi and thus receives E(sup Xi).


We will compare this return to the expected payoffs of a number of gamblers having less information, in particular supi(EXi), the value of the sequence to a person who only knows the random variables’ expected values.

In general, there is a stochastic environment, (F.E. a class of random variables C), and several levels of information. Given some XϵC, an observer possessing information j obtains rj(X). We are going to study ‘information sets’ of the form.

characterizing the advantage of k relative to j. Since such a set measures the additional payoff by virtue of increased information, its analysis yields a number of interesting results, in particular ‘prophet-type’ inequalities.

July 19, 2017

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