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A precautionary tale of uncertain tail fattening

Author: Martin L Weitzman; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2012.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 18144.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Suppose that there is a probability density function for how bad things might get, but that the overall rate at which this probability density function slims down to approach zero in the tail is uncertain. The paper shows how a basic precautionary principle of tail fattening could then apply. The worse is the contemplated damage, the more should a decision maker consider the bad tail to be among the relatively  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Martin L Weitzman; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 795777571
Description: 1 online resource (19 pages).
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 18144.
Responsibility: Martin L. Weitzman.

Abstract:

Suppose that there is a probability density function for how bad things might get, but that the overall rate at which this probability density function slims down to approach zero in the tail is uncertain. The paper shows how a basic precautionary principle of tail fattening could then apply. The worse is the contemplated damage, the more should a decision maker consider the bad tail to be among the relatively fatter-tailed possibilities. A rough numerical example is applied to the uncertain tail distribution of climate sensitivity.

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