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An empirical Bayesian approach to stein-optimal covariance matrix estimation

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  • Gillen, Benjamin J.

Abstract

This paper proposes a conjugate Bayesian regression model to estimate the covariance matrix of a large number of securities. Characterizing the return generating process with an unrestricted factor model, prior beliefs impose structure while preserving estimator consistency. This framework accommodates economically-motivated prior beliefs and nests shrinkage covariance matrix estimators, providing a common model for their interpretation. Minimizing posterior finite-sample square error delivers a fully-automated covariance matrix estimator with beliefs that become diffuse as the sample grows relative to the dimension of the problem. In application, this Stein-optimal posterior covariance matrix performs well in a large set of simulation experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Gillen, Benjamin J., 2014. "An empirical Bayesian approach to stein-optimal covariance matrix estimation," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 402-420.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:empfin:v:29:y:2014:i:c:p:402-420
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jempfin.2014.09.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruili Sun & Tiefeng Ma & Shuangzhe Liu, 2018. "A Stein-type shrinkage estimator of the covariance matrix for portfolio selections," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 81(8), pages 931-952, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bayesian estimation; Covariance matrix shrinkage; Asset allocation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C58 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Financial Econometrics
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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