Tag: risk model

What’s Wrong with Risk Models?

April 27, 2010, The New Yorker

First up, sincere apologies to the organizers and attendees of the Milken Global Forum, in Los Angeles, where I was due to appear this afternoon at a session about economic models of risk. I was looking forward to engaging the other panelists, who included Nobel laureate Myron Scholes, of “Black Scholes” fame; Colin Camerer, a Cal-Tech behavioral economist I’ve written about in the past; and Aaron Brown, a former Wall Street risk modeler.

What went wrong? It is now commonly said that the reason the models, especially the Value-at-Risk models, came a cropper is that they didn’t account for the possibility of “fat tails.” This is Nassim Taleb’s “black swan” critique, which goes back to Benoit Mandlebrot’s work in the early nineteen-sixties.

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