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Conditional risk and performance evaluation: Volatility timing, overconditioning, and new estimates of momentum alphas

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  • Boguth, Oliver
  • Carlson, Murray
  • Fisher, Adlai
  • Simutin, Mikhail

Abstract

Unconditional alphas are biased when conditional beta covaries with the market risk premium (market timing) or volatility (volatility timing). We demonstrate an additional bias (overconditioning) that can occur any time an empiricist estimates risk using information, such as a realized beta, that is not available to investors ex ante. Calibrating to U.S. equity returns, volatility timing and overconditioning can plausibly impact alphas more than market timing, which has been the focus of prior literature. To correct market- and volatility-timing biases without overconditioning, we show that incorporating realized betas into instrumental variables estimators is effective. Empirically, instrumentation reduces momentum alphas by 20–40%. Overconditioned alphas overstate performance by up to 2.5 times. We explain the sources of both the volatility-timing and overconditioning biases in momentum portfolios.

Suggested Citation

  • Boguth, Oliver & Carlson, Murray & Fisher, Adlai & Simutin, Mikhail, 2011. "Conditional risk and performance evaluation: Volatility timing, overconditioning, and new estimates of momentum alphas," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 363-389.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:102:y:2011:i:2:p:363-389
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2011.06.002
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    Cited by:

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    2. Galvani, Valentina & Gubellini, Stefano, 2013. "Mean–variance dominant trading strategies," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 142-150.
    3. Esben Hedegaard & Robert J. Hodrick, 2014. "Measuring the Risk-Return Tradeoff with Time-Varying Conditional Covariances," NBER Working Papers 20245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Patrick Gagliardini & Elisa Ossola & Olivier Scaillet, 2016. "Time‐Varying Risk Premium in Large Cross‐Sectional Equity Data Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 985-1046, May.
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    6. Fan, Minyou & Li, Youwei & Liu, Jiadong, 2017. "Risk adjusted momentum strategies: a comparison between constant and dynamic volatility scaling approaches," MPRA Paper 83510, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance evaluation; Conditional CAPM; Volatility timing; Momentum;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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