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Fascinating Insights From Nobel Prize-Winner Robert Shiller

Jim Byers passes along:

On why so many experts missed the 2008 financial crisis: “Experts have always missed big events like this. If you look at the record of statistical forecasting models, they tend to get to the recession when it’s starting to come. A casual observer might start to worry about it. Forecasting it years out, they don’t get; in particular, if you look at the Great Depression of the 1930s, nobody forecasted that. Zero. Nobody. Now there were, of course, some guys who were saying the stock market is overpriced and it would come down, but if you look at what they said, did that mean a depression is coming? A decade-long depression? That was never said.”

On short-term thinking: “I think that there’s too much faith in analysis of short-term data. You see some pattern, and you can do a statistical test and prove that will prove that it is significant or passes the smell test to a statistician. But the problem is, the world is always changing. It’s not a stable thing. The underlying human parameters may be stable, but you can see that there is institutional and cultural evolution, and it’s not something that you can quantify.”

The Vulcan Mind Meld of Trend Following

Today, I had the opportunity to share face-to-face experiences with a handful of key lieutenants at a prominent trend following firm. They also provided a great background from their then small start-up to current respected veteran status. Their track record? It extends over 30+ years. They have been around the block to say the least. How has their basic trend following philosophy remained under the radar? That was the question I kept asking myself. How can a college finance class serve any purpose if these types of trend traders are not on the syllabus? Well, it can’t.

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