Brief explanation of Copyright

A Brief Explanation of Expected Value  February 8, 2013 – 03:15 am
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When helping people analyze the risks they face in complex decisions, I frequently receive requests for an explanation of expected value, as expected value is a measure commonly used to compare the value of alternate risky options. I’ve found that by now most people understand the concept of net present value (NPV) rather well, but they still struggle with the concept of expected value (EV)*. Interestingly enough, and fortunately so, the two concepts share some relationship to each other that makes an explanation a little simpler.

NPV is the means by which we consistently compare cash flows shaped differently in time, assuming that money has a greater meaning to us when we get it or spend it sooner rather than later. For example, NPV would help us understand the relative value of a net cash stream that experienced a small draw down in early periods but paid it back in five years versus a net cash stream that makes a larger draw down in early periods but pays it back in three years.

EV is similar. By it we consistently compare future outcome values that face different probabilities of occurring.

When we do NPV calculations, we don’t anticipate that the final value in our bank account necessarily will equal the NPV calculated. The calculation simply provides a way to make a rational comparison among alternate time-distributed cash streams.

Source: Lumina Blog

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