Risk and Uncertainty – on the role of Ambiguity

This WSJ article from last spring addresses how to measure uncertainty and also explains the subtle, yet important differences between risk and uncertainty. Risk reflects the “known unknowns,” or the uncertainties about which one can make probabilistic inferences. Ambiguity (AKA “Knightian” uncertainty; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Knight) reflects the “unknown unknowns,” where the probabilities themselves are a mystery.

A researcher whose work foreshadowed the VIX now has his eye on an entirely different barometer of market uncertainty—ambiguity.

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