null recurrent = zero utility?

The stability result that the ratio

\dfrac{\sum^T_{t=1} f(\theta^{(t)})}{\sum^T_{t=1} g(\theta^{(t)})}\qquad(1)

converges holds for a Harris π-null-recurrent Markov chain for all functions f,g in L¹(π) [Meyn & Tweedie, 1993, Theorem 17.3.2] is rather fascinating. However, it is unclear it can be useful in simulation environments, as for the integral priors we have been studying over the years with Juan Antonio Cano and Diego Salmeron Martinez. Above, the result of an experiment where I simulated a Markov chain as a Normal random walk in dimension one, hence a Harris π-null-recurrent Markov chain for the Lebesgue measure λ, and monitored the stabilisation of the ratio (1) when using two densities for f and g,  to its expected value (1, shown by a red horizontal line). There is quite a variability in the outcome (repeated 100 times),  but the most intriguing is the quick stabilisation of most cumulated averages to values different from 1. Even longer runs display this feature

which I would blame on the excursions of the random walk far away from the central regions for both f and g, that is on long sequences where zeroes keep being added to numerator and denominators in (1). As far as integral approximation is concerned, this is not very helpful!

One Response to “null recurrent = zero utility?”

  1. […] article was first published on R – Xi'an's Og, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here) […]

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