I am trying to prove that if $r_i \sim Lap(0,1/\varepsilon)$ where $\varepsilon >0$ then:

$$Pr[r_i \geq 1+r^*] \geq e^{-\varepsilon}Pr[r_i \geq r^{*}]$$.

I know that for $r*>0$ it satisfies with equality. Even though, for $r <0$, I couldn't find out how to prove it.

Note $Lap \sim (\mu,b)$:

$$Pr[X \geq x] = 1-F(x)=\begin{cases} 1-\frac{1}{2}\exp(\frac{x-\mu}{b}) && \text{if }x< \mu \\ \frac{1}{2}\exp(-\frac{x-\mu}{b}) &&\text{if } x\geq \mu\end{cases},$$

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    $\begingroup$ Your equation is incomplete. What is $1/\epsilon$? The spread parameter? Unless the negative case is $-1\leq r* <0,$ such an inequality won't hold since the distribution is of the form $c \exp(-|r|)$ thus it is increasing for $r\leq 0.$ $\endgroup$
    – kodlu
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ I think what its happening is the contrary. When $r* <-1$ the inequality holds. I did some calculations and works very well. When $-1\leq r* <0$, is more complex because when $1+r*>0$, the cumulative distribution may change for some values $1+r*$ and $r*$. This inequality is from proof of Report Noisy Max in differential privacy. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 23:26
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    $\begingroup$ well i hadnt seen your full equation. by the way your $x\geq \mu$ case is still looks wrong. The distribution is negative $\endgroup$
    – kodlu
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ Yeap, it's positive. If you maybe take some time thinking about it and find a way to solve it, will help me a lot !. Yeah, I just changed it to seem more clearly in the question. I have spent like two days already :( $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 1:16

1 Answer 1


OK, I did this quickly. Hope it’s correct.

When $r*\geq 0,$ the relationship holds as you observed. And when $r^*\leq -1,$ the same expression for both probabilities you want to compare enables a direct proof.

Let $r^*\in(-1,0),$ so that $1+r^* \in (0,1).$ Then what you want to show is $$\frac{1}{2} e^{-\epsilon(1+r^*)}\geq e^{-\epsilon}\left(1-\frac{1}{2} e^{\epsilon r^*}\right) $$ or $$ \frac{1}{2} e^{-\epsilon(r^*+1)}+ \frac{1}{2} e^{\epsilon (r^*-1)} \geq e^{-\epsilon} $$ or $$ e^{-\epsilon} \left( \frac{ e^{-\epsilon r^*}+ e^{\epsilon r^*}}{2} \right)\geq e^{-\epsilon} $$ which holds since the cosh function is lower bounded by $1.$

When $r*<-1$, a litlle more larger, we want to find the next inequality:

\begin{equation*} \begin{split} e^{\epsilon} \left(1-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon(x+1)} \right) \geq 1-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon(x)}\\ e^{\epsilon}-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon x+ 2\epsilon}\geq 1-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon(x)} \end{split} \end{equation*}

Which we will bounded by both inequalities using the fact that $r*\leq-1$

\begin{equation*} \begin{split} r* &\leq -1\\ e^{\epsilon r*} &\leq e^{-\epsilon}\\ e^{\epsilon x + 2\epsilon} &\leq e^{\epsilon}\\ -\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon r*+ 2\epsilon} &\geq -\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon}\\ e^{\epsilon}-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon r*+ 2\epsilon} &\geq e^{\epsilon}-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon}\\ \end{split} \end{equation*}

The same way we have:

\begin{equation*} \begin{split} r* &\leq -1\\ 1-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon x} & \geq 1-\frac{1}{2}e^{-\epsilon} \end{split} \end{equation*}

Joining this inequalitys, we can obtain

\begin{equation*} \begin{split} e^{\epsilon}-\frac{1}{2}e^{\epsilon} > 1-\frac{1}{2}e^{-\epsilon}\\ 2(e^{\epsilon}-1) > e^{\epsilon}-e^{-\epsilon} \end{split} \end{equation*}

Where the inequalitie holds since $2>1$ and $-1 \leq - e^{-\epsilon}$

  • $\begingroup$ That proof seems correct ! But can you show also when $r* \leq -1$ ? I don't see the direct way. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 5:39
  • $\begingroup$ Already did the proof of $r*<-1$, it's not so direct. Anyway thanks, for the tip :) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ Been too busy with a deadline. Feel free to edit answer to include that case.. $\endgroup$
    – kodlu
    Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ Perfect, done. I think its correct $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 7:57

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