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Uncertainty in Second Moments: Implications for Portfolio Allocation

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  • David Daewhan Cho
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the uncertainty in variance and covariance of asset returns. It is commonly believed that these second moments can be estimated very accurately. However, time varying volatility and nonnormality of asset returns can lead to imprecise variance estimates. Using CRSP value weighted monthly returns from 1926 to 2001, this paper shows that the variance is less accurately estimated than the expected return. In addition, a mean variance investor will incur significant certainty equivalent loss due to the uncertainty in second moments. Applying the Fama French 3 factor model to 25 size, BE/ME sorted portfolios from 1963 to 2001, the loss due to the variance estimation can be shown to be as large as the loss due to the expected return estimation. Moreover, as the number of assets in the portfolio increases, the loss due to the variance uncertainty becomes larger. This provides a possible explanation to the home bias puzzle.

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    File URL: http://repec.org/esFEAM04/up.4188.1073936201.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings with number 431.

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    Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:ecm:feam04:431

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    Related research

    Keywords: Portfolio allocation; estimation risk; time varying volatility; home bias; bayesian analysis;

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    1. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
    2. Huberman, Gur, 2001. "Familiarity Breeds Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 659-80.
    3. Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The arbitrage theory of capital asset pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 341-360, December.
    4. Lubos Pastor & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Comparing Asset Pricing Models: An Investment Perspective," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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    8. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
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    10. Kenneth D. West & Whitney K. Newey, 1995. "Automatic Lag Selection in Covariance Matrix Estimation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Michael W. Brandt, 1999. "Estimating Portfolio and Consumption Choice: A Conditional Euler Equations Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1609-1645, October.
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    14. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
    15. Bai, Xuezheng & Russell, Jeffrey R. & Tiao, George C., 2003. "Kurtosis of GARCH and stochastic volatility models with non-normal innovations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 349-360, June.
    16. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 817-58, May.
    17. Ho, Thomas S Y & Lee, Sang-bin, 1986. " Term Structure Movements and Pricing Interest Rate Contingent Claims," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(5), pages 1011-29, December.
    18. Bollerslev, Tim, 1987. "A Conditionally Heteroskedastic Time Series Model for Speculative Prices and Rates of Return," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 542-47, August.
    19. Klein, Roger W. & Bawa, Vijay S., 1976. "The effect of estimation risk on optimal portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 215-231, June.
    20. Joshua D. Coval & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 1999. "Home Bias at Home: Local Equity Preference in Domestic Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2045-2073, December.
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