As I write these words, hordes of financial analysts in lower Manhattan and dozens of other locations are hard at work estimating the value and risk of financial derivatives so exotic that, a few decades ago, literally no one could have conceived of them. Many – probably most – of these analysts are “rocket scientists” with graduate degrees in physics, mathematics, or statistics. Using what might have been called “supercomputers” not so long ago, they seek to create composite assets that react in particular, predictable ways to changes in the prices of equity and debt contracts. These attempts to conquer the risk-return tradeoff and to ensure a healthy return in any and all market conditions have yet to succeed completely (as a recent Federal Reserve bailout testifies), but the rocket scientists are still hard at it, seeking to maximize returns while minimizing risk.
Skaggs, N.T. (2008), " Forerunners of Modern Financial Economics Prior knowledge: Financial economics before Markowitzdonald Stabile's", Samuels, W.J., Biddle, J.E. and Emmett, R.B. (Ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 26 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 263-270. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0743-4154(08)26024-4
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