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... and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns

Campbell Harvey (), Yan Liu and Heqing Zhu

No 20592, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Hundreds of papers and hundreds of factors attempt to explain the cross-section of expected returns. Given this extensive data mining, it does not make any economic or statistical sense to use the usual significance criteria for a newly discovered factor, e.g., a t-ratio greater than 2.0. However, what hurdle should be used for current research? Our paper introduces a multiple testing framework and provides a time series of historical significance cutoffs from the first empirical tests in 1967 to today. Our new method allows for correlation among the tests as well as missing data. We also project forward 20 years assuming the rate of factor production remains similar to the experience of the last few years. The estimation of our model suggests that a newly discovered factor needs to clear a much higher hurdle, with a t-ratio greater than 3.0. Echoing a recent disturbing conclusion in the medical literature, we argue that most claimed research findings in financial economics are likely false.

JEL-codes: C01 C58 G0 G1 G12 G3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ecm, nep-fmk and nep-his
Note: AP
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (16)

Published as Campbell R. Harvey & Yan Liu & Heqing Zhu, 2016. "… and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Review of Financial Studies, vol 29(1), pages 5-68.

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