“Micro-Mooc on a paper by Taleb and Tetlock (one manifestation of the LUDIC FALLACY). There are serious statistical differences between predictions, bets, and exposures that have a yes/no type of payoff, the “binaries”, and those that have varying payoffs, which we call the “vanilla”. Real world exposures tend to belong to the vanilla category, and are poorly captured by binaries. Yet much of the economics and decision making literature confuses the two. Vanilla exposures are sensitive to Black Swan effects, model errors, and prediction problems, while the binaries are largely immune to them. The binaries are mathematically tractable, while the vanilla are much less so. Hedging vanilla exposures with binary bets can be disastrous–and because of the human tendency to engage in attribute substitution when confronted by difficult questions,decision-makers and researchers often confuse the vanilla for the binary.”

The paper is here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2284964
More general Fat Problems with Tails: http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/FatTails.html

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Taleb’s MOOCs | Binary vs Vanilla Payoffs and Predictions: An error in the research/risk literature

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August 21st, 2013


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