An Early Debate on Value at Risk

I found the The Jorion-Taleb Debate from 1997 to be most interesting – particularly Taleb’s comment:

Banks have the ingrained habit of plunging headlong into mistakes together where blame-minimizing managers appear to feel comfortable making blunders so long as their competitors are making the same ones. The state of the Japanese and French banking systems, the stories of lending to Latin America, the chronic real estate booms and busts, and the S&L debacle provide us with an interesting cycle of communal irrationality. I believe that the VAR is the alibi bankers will give shareholders (and the bailing-out taxpayer) to show documented due diligence, and will express that their blow-up came from truly unforeseeable circumstances and events with low probability-not from taking large risks they did not understand. But my sense of social responsibility will force me to point my finger menacingly. I maintain that the due-diligence VAR tool encourages untrained people to take misdirected risk with shareholders’, and ultimately the taxpayers’, money.

There’s also a debate between David Einhorn & Aaron Brown from the summer of 2008 that is of great interest.

And straight line from CAPM through VaR to Basel II is drawn by Kaplanski, Guy and Levy, Haim,Value-at-Risk Capital Requirement Regulation and Asset Allocation: A Mean-Variance Analysis(August 2007). Available at SSRN:

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