Looking for extremely rare events ?

As mentioned in a recent post on http://www.mafeco.fr/ (here), David Viniar who used to work as a director for Goldman Sachs mentioned that « We are seeing things that were 25-standard deviation events, several days in a row », (seehere). It was in 2007 much before the recent financial crisis (and the recent – real – extremal events)
I have to confess that I couldn’t do the maths with R, but this has been done recently in a research paper,
Dowd, K.; Cotter, J.; Humphrey, C.; Woods, M.(2008), « How unlucky is 25 sigma? », Journal of Portfolio Management, Vol.34(4), pp.76-80
It turns out that 25 times the standard deviation, for a gaussian distribution, is as unlikely yo happened as winning 21 or 22 consecutive weeks at the BritishNational Lottery ! So who can still believe that Gaussian distributions can still be used in financial econometrics ?


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