Risk Analysis

Why Risk Analysis is Difficult, and Some Thoughts on How to Proceed

Journal Article

Risk analysis is challenged in three ways by uncertainty. Our understanding of the world and its uncertainties is evolving; indeterminism is an inherent part of the open universe in which we live; and learning from experience involves untestable assumptions. We discuss several concepts of robustness as tools for responding to these epistemological challenges. The use of models is justified, even though they are known to err. A concept of robustness is illustrated in choosing between a conventional technology and an innovative, promising, but more uncertain technology. We explain that nonprobabilistic robust decisions are sometimes good probabilistic bets. Info‐gap and worst‐case concepts of robustness are compared. Finally, we examine the exploitation of favorable but uncertain opportunities and its relation to robust decision making.

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