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Regime shifts in mean-variance efficient frontiers: some international evidence

  • Massimo Guidolin
  • Federica Ria

Regime switching models have been assuming an increasingly central role in financial applications because of their well-known ability to capture the presence of rich non-linear patterns in the joint distribution of asset returns. After reviewing key concepts and technical issues related to specifying, estimating, and using multivariate Markov switching models in financial applications, in this paper we examine how the presence of regimes in means, variances, and covariances of asset returns translates into explicit dynamics of the Markowitz mean-variance frontier. In particular, we show both theoretically and through an application to international equity portfolio diversification that substantial differences exist between bull and bear regime-specific frontiers, both in statistical and in economic terms. Using Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) investable indices for five countries/macro-regions, we characterize mean-variance frontiers and optimal portfolio strategies in bull periods, in bear periods, and in periods where high uncertainty exists on the nature of the current regime.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2010-040.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2010-040
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  2. Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2005. "Small Caps in International Equity Portfolios: The Effects of Variance Risk," CeRP Working Papers 41, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
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  5. Guidolin, Massimo & Hyde, Stuart, 2008. "Equity portfolio diversification under time-varying predictability: Evidence from Ireland, the US, and the UK," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 293-312, October.
  6. Victor DeMiguel & Lorenzo Garlappi & Raman Uppal, 2009. "Optimal Versus Naive Diversification: How Inefficient is the 1-N Portfolio Strategy?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(5), pages 1915-1953, May.
  7. Massimo Guidolin & Allan Timmerman, 2006. "Asset allocation under multivariate regime switching," Working Papers 2005-002, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  8. Timmermann, Allan, 2000. "Moments of Markov switching models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 75-111, May.
  9. Massimo Guidolin & Sadayuki Ono, 2005. "Are the dynamic linkages between the macroeconomy and asset prices time-varying?," Working Papers 2005-056, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert, 2002. "Short rate nonlinearities and regime switches," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 1243-1274, July.
  11. Massimo Guidolin & Allan Timmerman, 2006. "International asset allocation under regime switching, skew and kurtosis preferences," Working Papers 2005-034, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "State-Space Models with Regime Switching: Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112388, June.
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  21. Hamilton, James D. & Susmel, Raul, 1994. "Autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity and changes in regime," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 307-333.
  22. Guidolin, Massimo & Timmermann, Allan, 2009. "Forecasts of US short-term interest rates: A flexible forecast combination approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(2), pages 297-311, June.
  23. Butler, K. C. & Joaquin, D. C., 2002. "Are the gains from international portfolio diversification exaggerated? The influence of downside risk in bear markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 981-1011, December.
  24. Fishburn, Peter C, 1977. "Mean-Risk Analysis with Risk Associated with Below-Target Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 116-26, March.
  25. Henry, Ólan T., 2009. "Regime switching in the relationship between equity returns and short-term interest rates in the UK," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 405-414, February.
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