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A spectral perspective on excess volatility


  • Giacomo Livan
  • Simone Alfarano
  • Mishael Milaković
  • Enrico Scalas


We perform a careful spectral analysis of the correlation structures observed in real and financial returns for a large pool of long-lived US corporations and find that financial returns are characterized by strong collective fluctuations that are absent from real returns. Once the excessive comovement is subtracted from individual financial time series, the behaviour of real and financial returns is virtually identical in both the cross-sectional and time series domains, thereby demonstrating the inherently collective nature of excessive fluctuations. Put differently, if excess volatility is to be reduced, then one would do well to inhibit excess comovement first. At any rate, the excessive behaviour in volatility and comovement should no longer be studied in isolation of each other.

Suggested Citation

  • Giacomo Livan & Simone Alfarano & Mishael Milaković & Enrico Scalas, 2015. "A spectral perspective on excess volatility," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(9), pages 745-750, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:22:y:2015:i:9:p:745-750 DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2014.975324

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mundt, Philipp & Förster, Niels & Alfarano, Simone & Milakovi?, Mishael, 2014. "The real versus the financial economy: A global tale of stability versus volatility," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-26.
    2. Alfarano, Simone & Milaković, Mishael & Irle, Albrecht & Kauschke, Jonas, 2012. "A statistical equilibrium model of competitive firms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 136-149.
    3. G. Livan & S. Alfarano & E. Scalas, 2011. "The fine structure of spectral properties for random correlation matrices: an application to financial markets," Papers 1102.4076,
    4. Toda, Alexis Akira, 2012. "The double power law in income distribution: Explanations and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 364-381.
    5. Bottazzi, Giulio & Secchi, Angelo, 2003. "Why are distributions of firm growth rates tent-shaped?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 415-420, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis


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