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GMM Estimation of the Number of Latent Factors


  • Perez, Marcos
  • Ahn, Seung Chan


We propose a generalized method of moment (GMM) estimator of the number of latent factors in linear factor models. The method is appropriate for panels a large (small) number of cross-section observations and a small (large) number of time-series observations. It is robust to heteroskedasticity and time series autocorrelation of the idiosyncratic components. All necessary procedures are similar to three stage least squares, so they are computationally easy to use. In addition, the method can be used to determine what observable variables are correlated with the latent factors without estimating them. Our Monte Carlo experiments show that the proposed estimator has good finite-sample properties. As an application of the method, we estimate the number of factors in the US stock market. Our results indicate that the US stock returns are explained by three factors. One of the three latent factors is not captured by the factors proposed by Chen Roll and Ross 1986 and Fama and French 1996.

Suggested Citation

  • Perez, Marcos & Ahn, Seung Chan, 2007. "GMM Estimation of the Number of Latent Factors," MPRA Paper 4862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4862

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eichengreen, Barry & Mody, Ashoka & Nedeljkovic, Milan & Sarno, Lucio, 2012. "How the Subprime Crisis went global: Evidence from bank credit default swap spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1299-1318.
    2. Castagnetti, Carolina & Rossi, Eduardo, 2008. "Estimation methods in panel data models with observed and unobserved components: a Monte Carlo study," MPRA Paper 26196, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Factor models; GMM; number of factors; asset pricing;

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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