Statistica Sinica 26 (2016), 721-743 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5705/ss.2014.034
Abstract: The Generalized Pareto (GP) and Generalized extreme value (GEV) distributions play an important role in extreme value analyses as models for threshold excesses and block maxima, respectively. For each of these distributions we consider Bayesian inference using “reference” prior distributions (in the general sense of priors constructed using formal rules) for the model parameters, specifically a Jeffreys prior, the maximal data information (MDI) prior and independent uniform priors on separate model parameters. We investigate whether these improper priors lead to proper posterior distributions. We show that, in the GP and GEV cases, the MDI prior, unless modified, never yields a proper posterior and that in the GEV case this also applies to the Jeffreys prior. We also show that a sample size of three (four) is sufficient for independent uniform priors to yield a proper posterior distribution in the GP (GEV) case.
Key words and phrases: Extreme value theory, generalized extreme value distribution, generalized Pareto distribution, posterior propriety, reference prior.