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Risk and Volatility: Econometric Models and Financial Practice

  • Robert Engle

The advantage of knowing about risks is that we can change our behavior to avoid them. Of course, it is easily observed that to avoid all risks would be impossible; it might entail no flying, no driving, no walking, eating and drinking only healthy foods and never being touched by sunshine. Even a bath could be dangerous. I could not receive this prize if I sought to avoid all risks. There are some risks we choose to take because the benefits from taking them exceed the possible costs. Optimal behavior takes risks that are worthwhile. This is the central paradigm of finance; we must take risks to achieve rewards but not all risks are equally rewarded. Both the risks and the rewards are in the future, so it is the expectation of loss that is balanced against the expectation of reward. Thus we optimize our behavior, and in particular our portfolio, to maximize rewards and minimize risks.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 94 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 405-420

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:3:p:405-420
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828041464597
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