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A note on maximum likelihood estimation of a Pareto mixture

  • Marco Bee


  • Roberto Benedetti
  • Giuseppe Espa


In this paper we study Maximum Likelihood Estimation of the parameters of a Pareto mixture. Application of standard techniques to a mixture of Pareto is problematic. For this reason we develop two alternative algorithms. The first one is the Simulated Annealing and the second one is based on Cross-Entropy minimization. The Pareto distribution is a commonly used model for heavy-tailed data. It is a two-parameter distribution whose shape parameter determines the degree of heaviness of the tail, so that it can be adapted to data with different features. This work is motivated by an application in the operational risk measurement field: we fit a Pareto mixture to operational losses recorded by a bank in two different business lines. Losses below an unknown threshold are discarded, so that the observed data are truncated. The thresholds used in the two business lines are unknown. Thus, under the assumption that each population follows a Pareto distribution, the appropriate model is a mixture of Pareto where all the parameters have to be estimated.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0903.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpde:0903
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