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Stochastic volatility models: conditional normality versus heavy-tailed distributions

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  • Roman Liesenfeld

    (Eberhard-Karls-Universitat Tubingen, Department of Economics, Mohlstrasse 36, 72074 Tubingen, Germany)

  • Robert C. Jung

    (Eberhard-Karls-Universitat Tubingen, Department of Economics, Mohlstrasse 36, 72074 Tubingen, Germany)

Abstract

Most of the empirical applications of the stochastic volatility (SV) model are based on the assumption that the conditional distribution of returns, given the latent volatility process, is normal. In this paper, the SV model based on a conditional normal distribution is compared with SV specifications using conditional heavy-tailed distributions, especially Student's t-distribution and the generalized error distribution. To estimate the SV specifications, a simulated maximum likelihood approach is applied. The results based on daily data on exchange rates and stock returns reveal that the SV model with a conditional normal distribution does not adequately account for the two following empirical facts simultaneously: the leptokurtic distribution of the returns and the low but slowly decaying autocorrelation functions of the squared returns. It is shown that these empirical facts are more adequately captured by an SV model with a conditional heavy-tailed distribution. It also turns out that the choice of the conditional distribution has systematic effects on the parameter estimates of the volatility process. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Journal: Journal of Applied Econometrics

Suggested Citation

  • Roman Liesenfeld & Robert C. Jung, 2000. "Stochastic volatility models: conditional normality versus heavy-tailed distributions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 137-160.
  • Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:15:y:2000:i:2:p:137-160
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