Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Qihe Tang


In this thesis, we aim at a quantitative understanding of extreme risks. We use heavy-tailed distribution functions to model extreme risks, and use various tools, such as copulas and MRV, to model dependence structures. We focus on modeling as well as quantitatively estimating certain measurements of extreme risks.

We start with a credit risk management problem. More specifically, we consider a credit portfolio of multiple obligors subject to possible default. We propose a new structural model for the loss given default, which takes into account the severity of default. Then we study the tail behavior of the loss given default under the assumption that the losses of the obligors jointly follow an MRV structure. This structure provides an ideal framework for modeling both heavy tails and asymptotic dependence. Using HRV, we also accommodate the asymptotically independent case. Multivariate models involving Archimedean copulas, mixtures and linear transforms are revisited.

We then derive asymptotic estimates for the Value at Risk and Conditional Tail Expectation of the loss given default and compare them with the traditional empirical estimates.

Next, we consider an investor who invests in multiple lines of business and study a capital allocation problem. A randomly weighted sum structure is proposed, which can capture both the heavy-tailedness of losses and the dependence among them, while at the same time separates the magnitudes from dependence. To pursue as much generality as possible, we do not impose any requirement on the dependence structure of the random weights. We first study the tail behavior of the total loss and obtain asymptotic formulas under various sets of conditions. Then we derive asymptotic formulas for capital allocation and further refine them to be explicit for some cases.

Finally, we conduct extreme risk analysis for an insurer who makes investments. We consider a discrete-time risk model in which the insurer is allowed to invest a proportion of its wealth in a risky stock and keep the rest in a risk-free bond. Assume that the claim amounts within individual periods follow an autoregressive process with heavy-tailed innovations and that the log-returns of the stock follow another autoregressive process, independent of the former one. We derive an asymptotic formula for the finite-time ruin probability and propose a hybrid method, combining simulation with asymptotics, to compute this ruin probability more efficiently. As an application, we consider a portfolio optimization problem in which we determine the proportion invested in the risky stock that maximizes the expected terminal wealth subject to a constraint on the ruin probability.


Asymptotic dependence, Asymptotics, Capital allocation, Copula, Heavy-tailed distribution, Multivariate regular variation


x, 161 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 151-161).


Copyright 2013 Zhongyi Yuan