Everyone Worries Too Much About ‘Black Swans’

Relax. They really are pretty rare.

In other words, Taleb might be wrong — people might be overestimating, rather than underestimating, the risk of market crashes.

Some recent survey evidence indicates that this might be true. William Goetzmann, Dasol Kim and the Nobel-winning economist Robert Shiller looked at 26 years of survey data, and found that people consistently say they expect things like stock-market crashes and earthquakes to happen more frequently than they really do. This is exactly the opposite of what Taleb might predict.

Source: Everyone Worries Too Much About ‘Black Swans’

Taleb is not taking this sitting down! (Says your faithful archivist tongue in cheek.)
From Facebook 4/15/16

Friends, this is what I wrote in The Black Swan about rare events: they are very difficult to assess probabilistically. Not underpriced: hard to price, hence one should avoid being fragile to them.

Accordingly I have asked for a formal retraction of an article by Noah Smith (someone who has been spreading nonsense for years) and who apparently has not read the book.


Another flaw which most certainly explains Noah Smith’s failing his academic career. He takes a book published in 2007 discussing events until 2006, then says “Taleb is wrong” about market estimation of probability between 2007-2016. Perhaps the participants adjusted to events of 2007, the book, or something else. The claim by Noah Smith is about market value of risk, not the structure of risk, which is something subsequent to the book. That his editor missed it is also strange.

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