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A Diagnostic Criterion for Approximate Factor Structure

Author

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  • Patrick Gagliardini

    (University of Lugano and Swiss Finance Institute)

  • Elisa Ossola

    (University of Lugano)

  • O. Scaillet

    (University of Geneva and Swiss Finance Institute)

Abstract

We build a simple diagnostic criterion for approximate factor structure in large cross-sectional equity datasets. Given a model for asset returns with observable factors, the criterion checks whether the error terms are weakly cross-sectionally correlated or share at least one unobservable common factor. It only requires computing the largest eigenvalue of the empirical cross-sectional covariance matrix of the residuals of a large unbalanced panel. A general version of this criterion allows us to determine the number of omitted common factors. The panel data model accommodates both time-invariant and time-varying factor structures. The theory applies to random coefficient panel models with interactive fixed effects under large cross-section and time-series dimensions. The empirical analysis runs on monthly and quarterly returns for about ten thousand US stocks from January 1968 to December 2011 for several time-invariant and time-varying specifications. For monthly returns, we can choose either among time-invariant specifications with at least four financial factors, or a scaled three-factor specification. For quarterly returns, we cannot select macroeconomic models without the market factor.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Gagliardini & Elisa Ossola & O. Scaillet, 2016. "A Diagnostic Criterion for Approximate Factor Structure," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 16-51, Swiss Finance Institute, revised Dec 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:chf:rpseri:rp1651
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    large panel; approximate factor model; asset pricing; model selection; interactive fixed effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C58 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Financial Econometrics
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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