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7.6: Measure Spaces. More on Outer Measures

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    I. In §5, we considered premeasure spaces, stressing mainly the idea of \(\sigma\)-subadditivity (Note 5 in §5). Now we shall emphasize \(\sigma\)-additivity.

    Definition 1

    A premeasure

    \[m : \mathcal{M} \rightarrow[0, \infty]\]

    is called a measure (in \(S\)) iff \(\mathcal{M}\) is a \(\sigma\)-ring (in \(S\)), and \(m\) is \(\sigma\)-additive on \(\mathcal{M}.\)

    If so, the system

    \[(S, \mathcal{M}, m)\]

    is called a measure space; \(m X\) is called the measure of \(X \in \mathcal{M}\); \(\mathcal{M}\)-sets are called \(m\)-measurable sets.

    Note that \(m\) is nonnegative and \(m \emptyset=0,\) as \(m\) is a premeasure (Definition 2 in §5).

    Corollary \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Measures are \(\sigma\)-additive, \(\sigma\)-subadditive, monotone, and continuous.


    Use Corollary 2 in §5 and Theorem 2 in §4, noting that \(\mathcal{M}\) is a \(\sigma\)-ring.\(\quad \square\)

    Corollary \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    In any measure space \((S, \mathcal{M}, m),\) the union and intersection of any sequence of \(m\)-measurable sets is \(m\)-measurable itself. So also is \(X-Y\) if \(X, Y \in \mathcal{M}.\)

    This is obvious since \(\mathcal{M}\) is a \(\sigma\)-ring.

    As measures and other premeasures are understood to be \(\geq 0,\) we often write

    \[m : \mathcal{M} \rightarrow E^{*}\]


    \[m : \mathcal{M} \rightarrow[0, \infty].\]

    We also briefly say "measurable" for "\(m\)-measurable."

    Note that \(\emptyset \in \mathcal{M},\) but not always \(S \in \mathcal{M}\).


    (a) The volume of intervals in \(E^{n}\) is a \(\sigma\)-additive premeasure, but not a measure since its domain (the intervals) is not a \(\sigma\)-ring.

    (b) Let \(\mathcal{M}=2^{S}.\) Define

    \[(\forall X \subseteq S) \quad m X=0.\]

    Then \(m\) is trivially a measure (the zero-measure). Here each set \(X \subseteq S\) is measurable, with \(m X=0\).

    (c) Let again \(\mathcal{M}=2^{S}.\) Let \(m X\) be the number of elements in \(X,\) if finite, and \(m X=\infty\) otherwise.

    Then \(m\) is a measure ("counting measure"). Verify!

    (d) Let \(\mathcal{M}=2^{S}.\) Fix some \(p \in S.\) Let

    \[m X=\left\{\begin{array}{ll}{1} & {\text { if } p \in X}, \\ {0} & {\text { otherwise }}.\end{array}\right.\]

    Then \(m\) is a measure (it describes a "unit mass" concentrated at \(p\)).

    (e) A probability space is a measure space \((S, \mathcal{M}, m\)), with

    \[S \in \mathcal{M} \text { and } m S=1.\]

    In probability theory, measurable sets are called events; \(m X\) is called the probability of \(X,\) often denoted by \(p X\) or similar symbols.

    In Examples (b), (c), and (d),

    \[\mathcal{M}=2^{S} \text { (all subsets of } S \text{).}\]

    More often, however,

    \[\mathcal{M} \neq 2^{S},\]

    i.e., there are nonmeasurable sets \(X \subseteq S\) for which \(m X\) is not defined.

    Of special interest are sets \(X \in \mathcal{M},\) with \(m X=0,\) and their subsets. We call them \(m\)-null or null sets. One would like them to be measurable, but this is not always the case for subsets of \(X.\)

    This leads us to the following definition.

    Definition 2

    A measure \(m : \mathcal{M} \rightarrow E^{*}\) is called complete iff all null sets (subsets of sets of measure zero) are measurable.

    We now develop a general method for constructing complete measures.

    II. From §5 (Note 5) recall that an outer measure in \(S\) is a \(\sigma\)-subadditive premeasure defined on all of \(2^{S}\) (even if it is not derived via Definition 3 in §5). In Examples (b), (c), and (d), \(m\) is both a measure and an outer measure. (Why?)

    An outer measure

    \[m^{*} : 2^{S} \rightarrow E^{*}\]

    need not be additive; but consider this fact:

    \[\text { Any set } A \subseteq S \text { splits } S \text { into two parts: } A \text { itself and }-A.\]

    It also splits any other set \(X\) into \(X \cap A\) and \(X-A;\) indeed,

    \[X=(X \cap A) \cup(X-A) \text { (disjoint).}\]

    We want to single out those sets \(A\) for which \(m^{*}\) behaves "additively," i.e., so that

    \[m^{*} X=m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A).\]

    This motivates our next definition.

    Definition 3

    Given an outer measure \(m^{*} : 2^{S} \rightarrow E^{*}\) and a set \(A \subseteq S,\) we say that \(A\) is \(m^{*}\)-measurable iff all sets \(X \subseteq S\) are split "additively" by \(A;\) that is,

    \[(\forall X \subseteq S) \quad m^{*} X=m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A).\]

    As is easily seen (see Problem 1), this is equivalent to

    \[(\forall X \subseteq A)(\forall Y \subseteq-A) \quad m^{*}(X \cup Y)=m^{*} X+m^{*} Y.\]

    The family of all \(m^{*}\)-measurable sets is usually denoted by \(\mathcal{M}^{*}.\) The system \(\left(S, \mathcal{M}^{*}, m^{*}\right)\) is called an outer measure space.

    Note 1. Definition 3 applies to outer measures only. For measures, "\(m\)-measurable" means simply "member of the domain of \(m\)" (Definition 1).

    Note 2. In (1) and (2), we may equivalently replace the equality sign \((=)\) by \((\geq).\) Indeed, \(X\) is covered by

    \[\{X \cap A, X-A\},\]

    and \(X \cup Y\) is covered by \(\{X, Y\};\) so the reverse inequality \((\leq)\) anyway holds, by subadditivity.

    Our main objective is to prove the following fundamental theorem.

    Theorem \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    In any outer measure space

    \[\left(S, \mathcal{M}^{*}, m^{*}\right),\]

    the family \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) of all \(m^{*}\)-measurable sets is a \(\sigma\)-field in \(S,\) and \(m^{*},\) when restricted to \(\mathcal{M}^{*},\) is a complete measure (denoted by \(m\) and called the \(m^{*}\)-induced measure; so \(m^{*}=m\) on \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\)).


    We split the proof into several steps (lemmas).

    lemma 1

    \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) is closed under complementation:

    \[\left(\forall A \in \mathcal{M}^{*}\right) \quad-A \in \mathcal{M}^{*}.\]

    Indeed, the measurability criterion (2) is same for \(A\) and \(-A\) alike.

    lemma 2

    \(\emptyset\) and \(S\) are \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) sets. So are all sets of outer measure 0.


    Let \(m^{*} A=0.\) To prove \(A \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) use (2) and Note 2.

    Thus take any \(X \subseteq A\) and \(Y \subseteq-A.\) Then by monotonicity,

    \[m^{*} X \leq m^{*} A=0\]


    \[m^{*} Y \leq m^{*}(X \cup Y).\]


    \[m^{*} X+m^{*} Y=0+m^{*} Y \leq m^{*}(X \cup Y),\]

    as required.

    In particular, as \(m^{*} \emptyset=0, \emptyset\) is \(m^{*}\)-measurable \(\left(\emptyset \in \mathcal{M}^{*}\right)\).

    So is \(S\) (the complement of \(\emptyset)\) by Lemma 1.\(\quad \square\)

    lemma 3

    \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) is closed under finite unions:

    \[\left(\forall A, B \in \mathcal{M}^{*}\right) \quad A \cup B \in \mathcal{M}^{*}.\]


    This time we shall use formula (1). By Note 2, it suffices to show that

    \[(\forall X \subseteq S) \quad m^{*} X \geq m^{*}(X \cap(A \cup B))+m^{*}(X-(A \cup B)).\]

    Fix any \(X \subseteq S;\) as \(A \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) we have

    \[m^{*} X=m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A).\]

    Similarly, as \(B \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) we have (replacing \(X\) by \(X-A\) in (1))

    \[\begin{aligned} m^{*}(X-A) &=m^{*}((X-A) \cap B)+m^{*}(X-A-B) \\ &=m^{*}(X \cap-A \cap B)+m^{*}(X-(A \cup B)), \end{aligned}\]


    \[X-A=X \cap-A\]


    \[X-A-B=X-(A \cup B).\]

    Combining (4) with (3), we get

    \[m^{*} X=m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X \cap-A \cap B)+m^{*}(X-(A \cup B)).\]

    Now verify that

    \[(X \cap A) \cup(X \cap-A \cap B) \supseteq X \cap(A \cup B).\]

    As \(m\) is subadditive, this yields

    \[m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X \cap-A \cap B) \geq m^{*}(X \cap(A \cup B)).\]

    Combining with (5), we get

    \[m^{*} X \geq m^{*}(X \cap(A \cup B))+m^{*}(X-(A \cup B)),\]

    so that \(A \cup B \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) indeed.\(\quad \square\)

    Induction extends Lemma 3 to all finite unions of \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\)-sets.

    Note that by Problem 3 in §3, \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) is a set field, hence surely a ring. Thus Corollary 1 in §1 applies to it. (We use it below.)

    lemma 4


    \[X_{k} \subseteq A_{k} \subseteq S, \quad k=0,1,2, \ldots,\]

    with all \(A_{k}\) pairwise disjoint.

    Let \(A_{k} \in \mathcal{M}^{*}\) for \(k \geq 1.\) (\(A_{0}\) and the \(X_{k}\) need not be \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\)-sets.) Then

    \[m^{*}\left(\bigcup_{k=0}^{\infty} X_{k}\right)=\sum_{k=0}^{\infty} m^{*} X_{k}.\]


    We start with two sets, \(A_{0}\) and \(A_{1};\) so

    \[A_{1} \in \mathcal{M}^{*}, A_{0} \cap A_{1}=\emptyset, X_{0} \subseteq A_{0}, \text { and } X_{1} \subseteq A_{1}.\]

    As \(A_{0} \cap A_{1}=\emptyset,\) we have \(A_{0} \subseteq-A_{1};\) hence also \(X_{0} \subseteq-A_{1}\).

    since \(A_{1} \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) we use formula (2), with

    \[X=X_{1} \subseteq A_{1} \text { and } Y=X_{0} \subseteq-A,\]

    to obtain

    \[m^{*}\left(X_{0} \cup X_{1}\right)=m^{*} X_{0}+m^{*} X_{1}.\]

    Thus (6) holds for two sets.

    Induction now easily yields

    \[(\forall n) \sum_{k=0}^{n} m^{*} X_{k}=m^{*}\left(\bigcup_{k=0}^{n} X_{k}\right) \leq m^{*}\left(\bigcup_{k=0}^{\infty} X_{k}\right)\]

    by monotonicity of \(m^{*}.\) Now let \(n \rightarrow \infty\) and pass to the limit to get

    \[\sum_{k=0}^{\infty} m^{*} X_{k} \leq m^{*}\left(\bigcup_{k=0}^{\infty} X_{k}\right).\]

    As \(\bigcup X_{k}\) is covered by the \(X_{k},\) the \(\sigma\)-subadditivity of \(m^{*}\) yields the reverse inequality as well. Thus (6) is proved.\(\quad \square\)

    Proof of Theorem 1. As we noted, \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) is a field. To show that it is also closed under countable unions (a \(\sigma\)-field), let

    \[U=\bigcup_{k=1}^{\infty} A_{k}, \quad A_{k} \in \mathcal{M}^{*}.\]

    We have to prove that \(U \in \mathcal{M}^{*};\) or by (2) and Note 2,

    \[(\forall X \subseteq U)(\forall Y \subseteq-U) \quad m^{*}(X \cup Y) \geq m^{*} X+m^{*} Y.\]

    We may safely assume that the \(A_{k}\) are disjoint. (If not, replace them by disjoint sets \(B_{k} \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) as in Corollary 1 §1.)

    To prove (7), fix any \(X \subseteq U\) and \(Y \subseteq-U,\) and let

    \[X_{k}=X \cap A_{k} \subseteq A_{k},\]

    \(A_{0}=-U,\) and \(X_{0}=Y,\) satisfying all assumptions of Lemma 4. Thus by (6), writing the first term separately, we have

    \[m^{*}\left(Y \cup \bigcup_{k=1}^{\infty} X_{k}\right)=m^{*} Y+\sum_{k=1}^{\infty} m^{*} X_{k}.\]


    \[\bigcup_{k=1}^{\infty} X_{k}=\bigcup_{k=1}^{\infty}\left(X \cap A_{k}\right)=X \cap \bigcup_{k=1}^{\infty} A_{k}=X \cap U=X\]

    (as \(X \subseteq U).\) Also, by \(\sigma\)-subadditivity,

    \[\sum m^{*} X_{k} \geq m^{*} \bigcup X_{k}=m^{*} X.\]

    Therefore, (8) implies (7); so \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\) is a \(\sigma\)-field.

    Moreover, \(m^{*}\) is \(\sigma\)-additive on \(\mathcal{M}^{*},\) as follows from Lemma 4 by taking

    \[X_{k}=A_{k} \in \mathcal{M}^{*}, A_{0}=\emptyset.\]

    Thus \(m^{*}\) acts as a measure on \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\).

    By Lemma 2, \(m^{*}\) is complete; for if \(X\) is "null" (\(X \subseteq A\) and \(m^{*} A=0\)), then \(m^{*} X=0;\) so \(X \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) as required.

    Thus all is proved.\(\quad \square\)

    We thus have a standard method for constructing measures: From a premeasure

    \[\mu : \mathcal{C} \rightarrow E^{*}\]

    in \(S,\) we obtain the \(\mu\)-induced outer measure

    \[m^{*} : 2^{S} \rightarrow E^{*} \text{ (§5);}\]

    this, in turn, induces a complete measure

    \[m : \mathcal{M}^{*} \rightarrow E^{*}.\]

    But we need more: We want \(m\) to be an extension of \(\mu,\) i.e.,

    \[m=\mu \text { on } \mathcal{C},\]

    with \(\mathcal{C} \subseteq \mathcal{M}^{*}\) (meaning that all \(\mathcal{C}\)-sets are \(m^{*}\)-measurable). We now explore this question.

    lemma 5

    Let \((S, \mathcal{C}, \mu)\) and \(m^{*}\) be as in Definition 3 of §5. Then for a set \(A \subseteq S\) to be \(m^{*}\)-measurable, it suffices that

    \[m^{*} X \geq m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(x-A) \quad \text {for all } X \in \mathcal{C}.\]


    We must show that (9) holds for any \(X \subseteq S,\) even not a \(\mathcal{C}\)-set.

    This is trivial if \(m^{*} X=\infty.\) Thus assume \(m^{*} X<\infty\) and fix any \(\varepsilon>0\).

    By Note 3 in §5, \(X\) must have a basic covering \(\left\{B_{n}\right\} \subseteq \mathcal{C}\) so that

    \[X \subseteq \bigcup_{n} B_{n}\]


    \[m^{*} X+\varepsilon>\sum \mu B_{n} \geq \sum m^{*} B_{n}.\]


    Now, as \(X \subseteq \cup B_{n},\) we have

    \[X \cap A \subseteq \bigcup B_{n} \cap A=\bigcup\left(B_{n} \cap A\right).\]


    \[X-A=X \cap-A \subseteq \bigcup\left(B_{n}-A\right).\]

    Hence, as \(m^{*}\) is \(\sigma\)-subadditive and monotone, we get

    \[\begin{aligned} m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A) & \leq m^{*}\left(\bigcup\left(B_{n} \cap A\right)\right)+m^{*}\left(\bigcup\left(B_{n}-A\right)\right) \\ & \leq \sum\left[m^{*}\left(B_{n} \cap A\right)+m^{*}\left(B_{n}-A\right)\right]. \end{aligned}\]

    But by assumption, (9) holds for any \(\mathcal{C}\)-set, hence for each \(B_{n}.\) Thus

    \[m^{*}\left(B_{n} \cap A\right)+m^{*}\left(B_{n}-A\right) \leq m^{*} B_{n},\]

    and (11) yields

    \[m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A) \leq \sum\left[m^{*}\left(B_{n} \cap A\right)+m^{*}\left(B_{n}-A\right)\right] \leq \sum m^{*} B_{n}.\]

    Therefore, by (10),

    \[m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A) \leq m^{*} X+\varepsilon.\]

    Making \(\varepsilon \rightarrow 0,\) we prove (10) for any \(X \subseteq S,\) so that \(A \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) as required.\(\quad \square\)

    Theorem \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    Let the premeasure

    \[\mu : \mathcal{C} \rightarrow E^{*}\]

    be \(\sigma\)-additive on \(\mathcal{C}, a\) semiring in \(S.\) Let \(m^{*}\) be the \(\mu\)-induced outer measure, and

    \[m : \mathcal{M}^{*} \rightarrow E^{*}\]

    be the \(m^{*}\)-induced measure. Then

    (i) \(\mathcal{C} \subseteq \mathcal{M}^{*}\) and

    (ii) \(\mu=m^{*}=m\) on \(\mathcal{C}\).

    Thus \(m\) is a \(\sigma\)-additive extension of \(\mu\) (called its Lebesgue extension) to \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\).


    By Corollary 2 in §5, \(\mu\) is also \(\sigma\)-subadditive on the semiring \(\mathcal{C}.\) Thus by Theorem 2 in §5, \(\mu=m^{*}\) on \(\mathcal{C}.\)

    To prove that \(\mathcal{C} \subseteq \mathcal{M}^{*},\) we fix \(A \in \mathcal{C}\) and show that \(A\) satisfies (9), so that \(A \in \mathcal{M}^{*}.\)

    Thus take any \(X \in \mathcal{C}.\) As \(\mathcal{C}\) is a semiring, \(X \cap A \in \mathcal{C}\) and

    \[X-A=\bigcup_{k=1}^{n} A_{k} \text { (disjoint)}\]

    for some sets \(A_{k} \in \mathcal{C}.\) Hence

    \[\begin{aligned} m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A) &=m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*} \bigcup_{k=1}^{n} A_{k} \\ & \leq m^{*}(X \cap A)+\sum_{k=1}^{n} m^{*} A_{k}. \end{aligned}\]


    \[X=(X \cap A) \cup(X-A)=(X \cap A) \cup \bigcup A_{k} \text { (disjoint),}\]

    the additivity of \(\mu\) and the equality \(\mu=m^{*}\) on \(\mathcal{C}\) yield

    \[m^{*} X=m^{*}(X \cap A)+\sum_{k=1}^{n} m^{*} A_{k}.\]

    Hence by (12),

    \[m^{*} X \geq m^{*}(X \cap A)+m^{*}(X-A);\]

    so by Lemma 5, \(A \in \mathcal{M}^{*},\) as required.

    Also, by definition, \(m=m^{*}\) on \(\mathcal{M}^{*},\) hence on \(\mathcal{C}.\) Thus

    \[\mu=m^{*}=m \text { on } \mathcal{C},\]

    as claimed.\(\quad \square\)

    Note 3. In particular, Theorem 2 applies if

    \[\mu : \mathcal{M} \rightarrow E^{*}\]

    is a measure (so that \(\mathcal{C}=\mathcal{M}\) is even a \(\sigma\)-ring).

    Thus any such \(\mu\) can be extended to a complete measure \(m\) (its Lebesgue extension) on a \(\sigma\)-field

    \[\mathcal{M}^{*} \supseteq \mathcal{M}\]

    via the \(\mu\)-induced outer measure (call it \(\mu^{*}\) this time), with

    \[\mu^{*}=m=\mu \text { on } \mathcal{M}.\]


    \[\mathcal{M}^{*} \supseteq \mathcal{M} \supseteq \mathcal{M}_{\sigma}\]

    (see Note 2 in §3); so \(\mu^{*}\) is \(\mathcal{M}\)-regular and \(\mathcal{M}^{*}\)-regular (Theorem 3 of §5).

    Note 4. A reapplication of this process to \(m\) does not change \(m\) (Problem 16).

    7.6: Measure Spaces. More on Outer Measures is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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