Information-Theoretic Asymptotics of Bayes Methods

Bertrand S. Clarke, Andrew R. Barron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


In the absence of knowledge of the true density function, Bayesian models take the joint density function for a sequence of n random variables to be an average of densities with respect to a prior. We examine the relative entropy distance Dn between the true density and the Bayesian density and show that the asymptotic distance is (d/2)(log n)+ c, where d is the dimension of the parameter vector. Therefore, the relative entropy rate Dn/n converges to zero at rate (log n)/n. The constant c, which we explicitly identify, depends only on the prior density function and the Fisher information matrix evaluated at the true parameter value. Consequences are given for density estimation, universal data compression, composite hypothesis testing, and stock-market portfolio selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-471
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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