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Incorporating fat tails in financial models using entropic divergence measures


  • Santanu Dey
  • Sandeep Juneja


In the existing financial literature, entropy based ideas have been proposed in portfolio optimization, in model calibration for options pricing as well as in ascertaining a pricing measure in incomplete markets. The abstracted problem corresponds to finding a probability measure that minimizes the relative entropy (also called $I$-divergence) with respect to a known measure while it satisfies certain moment constraints on functions of underlying assets. In this paper, we show that under $I$-divergence, the optimal solution may not exist when the underlying assets have fat tailed distributions, ubiquitous in financial practice. We note that this drawback may be corrected if `polynomial-divergence' is used. This divergence can be seen to be equivalent to the well known (relative) Tsallis or (relative) Renyi entropy. We discuss existence and uniqueness issues related to this new optimization problem as well as the nature of the optimal solution under different objectives. We also identify the optimal solution structure under $I$-divergence as well as polynomial-divergence when the associated constraints include those on marginal distribution of functions of underlying assets. These results are applied to a simple problem of model calibration to options prices as well as to portfolio modeling in Markowitz framework, where we note that a reasonable view that a particular portfolio of assets has heavy tailed losses may lead to fatter and more reasonable tail distributions of all assets.

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  • Santanu Dey & Sandeep Juneja, 2012. "Incorporating fat tails in financial models using entropic divergence measures," Papers 1203.0643,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1203.0643

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buchen, Peter W. & Kelly, Michael, 1996. "The Maximum Entropy Distribution of an Asset Inferred from Option Prices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(01), pages 143-159, March.
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