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The analytical models for the Jones matrix of an optical fiber affected by high-order polarization-mode dispersion (PMD) are studied in an original comparative analysis with the purpose of finding a useful, precise, and stable tool for the system performance evaluation. First, a preliminary deterministic study is done to explain how the conceptual difference among the models reflects onto their representation of the fiber PMD effects in terms of Jones matrix coefficients and dispersion vector. Then, the analytical models with PMD up to third order are exploited for the calculation of the outage probability on the sensitivity penalty at the receiver, and the results obtained are compared with those of the discrete random wave-plate numerical model, assumed as a faithful description of the real fiber. Two different approaches are used for the outage probability evaluation: an analytical method, which is precise and faster but can only be used with PMD parameters up to second order, and a semi-analytical method that allows a comparison of the numerical and analytical results with homogeneity, when the statistics of high-order PMD are not known. The analytical model, which describes the dispersion vector as rotating on a circumference in the Stokes space, is found to be the most accurate in the system performance computation.