Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Everything Points to Poisson

Angus Macdonald

One recurring theme in our forthcoming book, Modelling Mortality with Actuarial Applications, is the all-pervading role of likelihoods that suggest the lurking presence of a Poisson distribution.  A popular assumption in modelling hazard rates is that the number of deaths observed at any given age is a Poisson random variable, so perhaps that might explain it?  Surprisingly, it is the other way round — it is the very nature of the data in a survival model that leads inexorably to the Poisson distribution, even if we assume no such thing.

Check out the rest of the blog post here

Want to find out more about the book? Take a look at our website and co-author Iain Currie’s post Mortality By The Book

About The Author

Angus Macdonald

Angus S. Macdonald is Professor of Actuarial Mathematics at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is an actuary with much experience of modeling mortality and other life histories,...

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