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Spurious Factors in Linear Asset Pricing Models

Journal

Review of Financial Studies

Subject

Finance

Publishing details

Review of Financial Studies 2021 Revise & Resubmit

Authors / Editors

Bryzgalova S

Publication Year

2021

Abstract

When a risk factor has small covariance with asset returns, risk premia in the linear asset pricing models are no longer identified. Weak factors, similar to weak instruments, make the usual estimation techniques unreliable. When included in the model, they generate spuriously high significance levels of their own risk premia estimates, overall measures of fit and may crowd out the impact of the true sources of risk. I develop a new approach to the estimation of cross-sectional asset pricing models that: a) provides simultaneous model diagnostics and parameter estimates; b) automatically removes the effect of spurious factors; c) restores consistency and asymptotic normality of the parameter estimates, as well as the accuracy of standard measures of fit; d) performs well in both small and large samples. I provide new insights on the pricing ability of various factors proposed in the literature. In particular, I identify a set of robust factors (e.g. Fama-French ones, but not only), and those that suffer from severe identification problems that render the standard assessment of their pricing performance unreliable (e.g. consumption growth, human capital proxies and others).

Available on ECCH

No


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