# Subordinators and the Arcsine rule

After the general discussion of Levy processes in the previous post, we now discuss a particular class of such processes. The majority of content and notation below is taken from chapters 1-3 of Jean Bertoin’s Saint-Flour notes.

We say $X_t$ is a subordinator if:

• It is a right-continuous adapted stochastic process, started from 0.
• It has stationary, independent increments.
• It is increasing.

Note that the first two conditions are precisely those required for a Levy process. We could also allow the process to take the value $\infty$, where the hitting time of infinity represents ‘killing’ the subordinator in some sense. If this hitting time is almost surely infinite, we say it is a strict subordinator. There is little to be gained right now from considering anything other than strict subordinators.

Examples

• A compound Poisson process, with finite jump measure supported on $[0,\infty)$. Hereafter we exclude this case, as it is better dealt with in other languages.
• A so-called stable Levy process, where $\Phi(\lambda)=\lambda^\alpha$, for some $\alpha\in(0,1)$. (I’ll define $\Phi$ very soon.) Note that checking that the sample paths are increasing requires only that $X_1\geq 0$ almost surely.
• The hitting time process for Brownian Motion. Note that this does indeed have jumps as we would need. (This has $\Phi(\lambda)=\sqrt{2\lambda}$.)

Properties

• In general, we describe Levy processes by their characteristic exponent. As a subordinator takes values in $[0,\infty)$, we can use the Laplace exponent instead: $\mathbb{E}\exp(-\lambda X_t)=:\exp(-t\Phi(\lambda)).$

• We can refine the Levy-Khintchine formula; $\Phi(\lambda)=k+d\lambda+\int_{[0,\infty)}(1-e^{-\lambda x})\Pi(dx),$

• where k is the kill rate (in the non-strict case). Because the process is increasing, it must have bounded variation, and so the quadratic part vanishes, and we have a stronger condition on the Levy measure: $\int(1\wedge x)\Pi(dx)<\infty$.
• The expression $\bar{\Pi}(x):=k+\Pi((x,\infty))$ for the tail of the Levy measure is often more useful in this setting.
• We can think of this decomposition as the sum of a drift, and a PPP with characteristic measure $\Pi+k\delta_\infty$. As we said above, we do not want to consider the case that X is a step process, so either d>0 or $\Pi((0,\infty))=\infty$ is enough to ensure this.

Analytic Methods

We give a snapshot of a couple of observations which make these nice to work with. Define the renewal measure U(dx) by: $\int_{[0,\infty)}f(x)U(dx)=\mathbb{E}\left(\int_0^\infty f(X_t)dt\right).$

If we want to know the distribution function of this U, it will suffice to consider the indicator function $f(x)=1_{X_t\leq x}$ in the above.

The reason to exclude step processes specifically is to ensure that X has a continuous inverse: $L_x=\sup\{t\geq 0:X_t\leq x\}$ so $U(x)=\mathbb{E}L_x$ is continuous.

In fact, this renewal measure characterises the subordinator uniquely, as we see by taking the Laplace transform: $\mathcal{L}U(\lambda)=\int_{[0,\infty)}e^{-\lambda x}U(dx)=\mathbb{E}\int e^{-\lambda X_t}dt$ $=\int \mathbb{E}e^{-\lambda X_t}dt=\int\exp(-t\Phi(\lambda))dt=\frac{1}{\Phi(\lambda)}.$

The Arcsine Law

X is Markov, which induces a so-called regenerative property on the range of X, $\mathcal{R}$. Formally, given s, we do not always have $s\in\mathcal{R}$ (as the process might jump over s), but we can define $D_s=\inf\{t>s:t\in\mathcal{R}\}$. Then $\{v\geq 0:v+D_s\in\mathcal{R}\}\stackrel{d}{=}\mathcal{R}.$

In fact, the converse holds as well. Any random set with this regenerative property is the range of some subordinator. Note that $D_s$ is some kind of dual to X, since it is increasing, and the regenerative property induces some Markovian properties.

In particular, we consider the last passage time $g_t=\sup\{s, in the case of a stable subordinator with $\Phi(\lambda)=\lambda^\alpha$. Here, $\mathcal{R}$ is self-similar with scaling exponent $\alpha$. The distribution of $\frac{g_t}{t}$ is thus independent of t. In this situation, we can derive the generalised arcsine rule for the distribution of $g_1$: $\mathbb{R}(g_1\in ds)=\frac{\sin \alpha\pi}{\pi}s^{\alpha-1}(1-s)^{-\alpha}ds.$

The most natural application of this is to the hitting time process of Brownian Motion, which is stable with $\alpha=\frac12$. Then $g_1=S_1-B_1$, in the usual notation for the supremum process. Furthermore, we have equality in distribution of the processes (see previous posts on excursion theory and the short aside which follows): $(S_t-B_t)_{t\geq 0}\stackrel{d}{=}(|B_t|)_{t\geq 0}.$

So $g_1$ gives the time of the last zero of BM before time 1, and the arcsine law shows that its distribution is given by: $\mathbb{P}(g_1\leq t)=\frac{2}{\pi}\text{arcsin}\sqrt{t}.$