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Errors, Robustness, and the Fourth Quadrant

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Independent Researcher; NYU-Poly Institute; New England Complex Systems Institute

February 14, 2009

International Journal of Forecasting, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2009

The paper presents evidence that econometric techniques based on variance- L2 norm are flawed -and do not replicate. The result is un-computability of role of tail events. The paper proposes a methodology to calibrate decisions to the degree (and computability) of forecast error. It classifies decision payoffs in two types: simple payoffs (true/false or binary) and complex (higher moments); and randomness into type-1 (thin tails) and type-2 (true fat tails) and shows the errors for the estimation of small probability payoffs for type 2 randomness. The Fourth Quadrant is where payoffs are complex with type-2 randomness. We propose solutions to mitigate the effect of the Fourth Quadrant based on the nature of complex systems.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: complexity, decision theory, fat tails, risk management

JEL Classification: D8, G11, G12, G13, N00

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Date posted: February 14, 2009 ; Last revised: November 16, 2012

Suggested Citation

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, Errors, Robustness, and the Fourth Quadrant (February 14, 2009). International Journal of Forecasting, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1343042

Contact Information

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Contact Author)
Independent Researcher ( email )
NYU-Poly Institute ( email )
Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States
New England Complex Systems Institute ( email )
24 Mt. Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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