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Working Papers (2013), ESSEC Business School

What Is the Best Risk Measure in Practice? A Comparison of Standard Measures


Expected Shortfall (ES) has been widely accepted as a risk measure that is conceptually superior to Value-at-Risk (VaR). At the same time, however, it has been criticized for issues relating to backtesting. In particular, ES has been found not to be elicitable which means that backtesting for ES is less straight-forward than, e.g., backtesting for VaR. Expectiles have been suggested as potentially better alternatives to both ES and VaR. In this paper, we revisit commonly accepted desirable properties of risk measures like coherence, comonotonic additivity, robustness and elicitability. We check VaR, ES and Expectiles with regard to whether or not they enjoy these properties, with particular emphasis on Expectiles. We also consider their impact on capital allocation, an important issue in risk management. We find that, despite the caveats that apply to the estimation and backtesting of ES, it can be considered a good risk measure. In particular, there is no sufficient evidence to justify an all-inclusive replacement of ES by Expectiles in applications, especially as we provide an alternative way for backtesting of ES.

EMMER, S., KRATZ, M. and TASCHE, D. (2013). What Is the Best Risk Measure in Practice? A Comparison of Standard Measures. ESSEC Business School.