The Annals of Statistics

Robust Bayes and Empirical Bayes Analysis with $_\epsilon$-Contaminated Priors

James Berger and L. Mark Berliner

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For Bayesian analysis, an attractive method of modelling uncertainty in the prior distribution is through use of $\varepsilon$-contamination classes, i.e., classes of distributions which have the form $\pi = (1 - \varepsilon)\pi_0 + \varepsilon q, \pi_0$ being the base elicited prior, $q$ being a "contamination," and $\varepsilon$ reflecting the amount of error in $\pi_0$ that is deemed possible. Classes of contaminations that are considered include (i) all possible contaminations, (ii) all symmetric, unimodal contaminations, and (iii) all contaminations such that $\pi$ is unimodal. Two issues in robust Bayesian analysis are studied. The first is that of determining the range of posterior probabilities of a set as $\pi$ ranges over the $\varepsilon$-contamination class. The second, more extensively studied, issue is that of selecting, in a data dependent fashion, a "good" prior distribution (the Type-II maximum likelihood prior) from the $\varepsilon$-contamination class, and using this prior in the subsequent analysis. Relationships and applications to empirical Bayes analysis are also discussed.

Article information

Ann. Statist., Volume 14, Number 2 (1986), 461-486.

First available in Project Euclid: 12 April 2007

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Digital Object Identifier

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier


Primary: 62A15
Secondary: 62F15: Bayesian inference

Robust Bayes empirical Bayes classes of priors $\epsilon$-contamination type II maximum likelihood hierarchical priors


Berger, James; Berliner, L. Mark. Robust Bayes and Empirical Bayes Analysis with $_\epsilon$-Contaminated Priors. Ann. Statist. 14 (1986), no. 2, 461--486. doi:10.1214/aos/1176349933.

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