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An empirical test for Eurozone contagion using an asset-pricing model with heavy-tailed stochastic volatility

  • Nicholas G. Polson
  • James G. Scott
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    This paper proposes an empirical test of financial contagion in European equity markets during the tumultuous period of 2008-2011. Our analysis shows that traditional GARCH and Gaussian stochastic-volatility models are unable to explain two key stylized features of global markets during presumptive contagion periods: shocks to aggregate market volatility can be sudden and explosive, and they are associated with specific directional biases in the cross-section of country-level returns. Our model repairs this deficit by assuming that the random shocks to volatility are heavy-tailed and correlated cross-sectionally, both with each other and with returns. The fundamental conclusion of our analysis is that great care is needed in modeling volatility if one wishes to characterize the relationship between volatility and contagion that is predicted by economic theory. In analyzing daily data, we find evidence for significant contagion effects during the major EU crisis periods of May 2010 and August 2011, where contagion is defined as excess correlation in the residuals from a factor model incorporating global and regional market risk factors. Some of this excess correlation can be explained by quantifying the impact of shocks to aggregate volatility in the cross-section of expected returns - but only, it turns out, if one is extremely careful in accounting for the explosive nature of these shocks. We show that global markets have time-varying cross-sectional sensitivities to these shocks, and that high sensitivities strongly predict periods of financial crisis. Moreover, the pattern of temporal changes in correlation structure between volatility and returns is readily interpretable in terms of the major events of the periods in question.

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    File URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1110.5789
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    Paper provided by arXiv.org in its series Papers with number 1110.5789.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2011
    Date of revision: Mar 2012
    Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1110.5789
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://arxiv.org/

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    1. Geert Bekaert & Campbell R. Harvey & Angela Ng, 2005. "Market Integration and Contagion," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 39-70, January.
    2. King, Mervyn A & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1990. "Transmission of Volatility between Stock Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 5-33.
    3. Kristin J. Forbes & Roberto Rigobon, 2002. "No Contagion, Only Interdependence: Measuring Stock Market Comovements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2223-2261, October.
    4. Andrew Ang & Robert J. Hodrick & Yuhang Xing & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2004. "The Cross-Section of Volatility and Expected Returns," NBER Working Papers 10852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Merton, Robert C., 1980. "On estimating the expected return on the market : An exploratory investigation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 323-361, December.
    6. Glosten, Lawrence R & Jagannathan, Ravi & Runkle, David E, 1993. " On the Relation between the Expected Value and the Volatility of the Nominal Excess Return on Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1779-1801, December.
    7. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G & Rossi, Peter E, 2002. "Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Volatility Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 69-87, January.
    8. Ng, Victor & Engle, Robert F. & Rothschild, Michael, 1992. "A multi-dynamic-factor model for stock returns," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 245-266.
    9. Yacine Aït-Sahalia & Julio Cacho-Diaz & Roger J.A. Laeven, 2010. "Modeling Financial Contagion Using Mutually Exciting Jump Processes," NBER Working Papers 15850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Chib, Siddhartha & Nardari, Federico & Shephard, Neil, 2006. "Analysis of high dimensional multivariate stochastic volatility models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 341-371, October.
    11. Engle, Robert F. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1995. "Multivariate Simultaneous Generalized ARCH," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 122-150, February.
    12. Bjørn Eraker & Michael Johannes & Nicholas Polson, 2003. "The Impact of Jumps in Volatility and Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 1269-1300, 06.
    13. Kaminsky, Graciela L. & Reinhart, Carmen M., 2000. "On crises, contagion, and confusion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 145-168, June.
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