, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 53–76 | Cite as

A hybrid Pareto model for asymmetric fat-tailed data: the univariate case

  • Julie Carreau
  • Yoshua Bengio


Density estimators that can adapt to asymmetric heavy tails are required in many applications such as finance and insurance. Extreme value theory (EVT) has developed principled methods based on asymptotic results to estimate the tails of most distributions. However, the finite sample approximation might introduce a severe bias in many cases. Moreover, the full range of the distribution is often needed, not only the tail area. On the other hand, non-parametric methods, while being powerful where data are abundant, fail to extrapolate properly in the tail area. We put forward a non-parametric density estimator that brings together the strengths of non-parametric density estimation and of EVT. A hybrid Pareto distribution that can be used in a mixture model is proposed to extend the generalized Pareto (GP) to the whole real axis. Experiments on simulated data show the following. On one hand, the mixture of hybrid Paretos converges faster in terms of log-likelihood and provides good estimates of the tail of the distributions when compared with other density estimators including the GP distribution. On the other hand, the mixture of hybrid Paretos offers an alternate way to estimate the tail index which is comparable to the one estimated with the standard GP methodology. The mixture of hybrids is also evaluated on the Danish fire insurance data set.


Mixture model Fat-tailed data Extreme quantiles Generalized Pareto distribution 

AMS 2000 Subject Classifications

62G07 62G32 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. IROUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada

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