[en] Density estimation ; parametric estimation ; robust estimation

[en] We consider the problem of estimating the joint distribution of n independent random variables. Given a loss function and a family of candidate probabilities, that we shall call a model, we aim at designing an estimator with values in our model that possesses good estimation properties not only when the distribution of the data belongs to the model but also when it lies close enough to it. The losses we have in mind are the total variation, Hellinger, Wasserstein and L_p-distances to name a few. We show that the risk of our estimator can be bounded by the sum of an approximation term that accounts for the loss between the true distribution and the model and a complexity term that corresponds to the bound we would get if this distribution did belong to the model. Our results hold under mild assumptions on the true distribution of the data and are based on exponential deviation inequalities that are non-asymptotic and involve explicit constants. Interestingly, when the model reduces to two distinct probabilities, our procedure results in a robust test whose errors of first and second kinds only depend on the losses between the true distribution and the two tested probabilities.