Weak limits for exploratory plots in the analysis of extremes


Exploratory data analysis is often used to test the goodness-of-fit of sample observations to specific target distributions. A few such graphical tools have been extensively used to detect subexponential or heavy-tailed behavior in observed data. In this paper we discuss asymptotic limit behavior of two such plotting tools: the quantile-quantile plot and the mean excess plot. The weak consistency of these plots to fixed limit sets in an appropriate topology of R2\mathbb{R}^2 has been shown in Das and Resnick (Stoch. Models 24 (2008) 103-132) and Ghosh and Resnick (Stochastic Process. Appl. 120 (2010) 1492-1517). In this paper we find asymptotic distributional limits for these plots when the underlying distributions have regularly varying right-tails. As an application we construct confidence bounds around the plots which enable us to statistically test whether the underlying distribution is heavy-tailed or not.Comment: Published in at the Bernoulli ( by the International Statistical Institute/Bernoulli Society (

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