IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Assessing the Estimation Uncertainty of Default Probabilities


  • Jochen Lawrenz

    (Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Banken und Finanzen, Universitätsstraße 15, A-6020 Innsbruck)


The probability of default (PD) is one of the key variables in credit risk management. By using PD estimates as input to pricing and capital requirement calculations, one should be concerned of how good these estimates are. Confidence intervals are thereby a convenient way to assess the range that covers the true, but unknown parameter with a certain confidence probability. In this paper, we discuss the issues occurring in the construction of confidence intervals for a binomial proportion, and assess the magnitude of estimation uncertainty for exemplary but representative credit portfolios. To give an economic meaning to the range of errors, we translate the PD confidence interval into a risk-weight confidence interval by applying the Basel II IRB approach. The two main conclusions are: (i) The magnitude of estimation uncertainty can be substantial and is economically relevant. (ii) The choice of confidence interval matters and differences between intervals can be large.

Suggested Citation

  • Jochen Lawrenz, 2008. "Assessing the Estimation Uncertainty of Default Probabilities," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 41(2), pages 217-238.
  • Handle: RePEc:kuk:journl:v:41:y:2008:i:2:p:217-238

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Henry Dannenberg, 2010. "Berücksichtigung von Schätzunsicherheit bei der Kreditrisikobewertung Vergleich des Value at Risk der Verlustverteilung des Kreditrisikos bei Verwendung von Bootstrapping und einem asymptotischen Ansa," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 43(4), pages 559-585.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kuk:journl:v:41:y:2008:i:2:p:217-238. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Credit and Capital Markets). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.