Are Stocks Really Less Volatile in the Long Run?
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Robert F. Stambaugh
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
March 22, 2011
EFA 2009 Bergen Meetings Paper
AFA 2010 Atlanta Meetings Paper
According to conventional wisdom, annualized volatility of stock returns is lower over long horizons than over short horizons, due to mean reversion induced by return predictability. In contrast, we find that stocks are substantially more volatile over long horizons from an investor's perspective. This perspective recognizes that parameters are uncertain, even with two centuries of data, and that observable predictors imperfectly deliver the conditional expected return. Mean reversion contributes strongly to reducing long-horizon variance, but it is more than offset by various uncertainties faced by the investor, especially uncertainty about the expected return. The same uncertainties reduce desired stock allocations of long-horizon investors contemplating target-date funds.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Keywords: stock, volatility, target-date funds, Bayesian, predictive system, predictive variance
JEL Classification: G12
Date posted: May 26, 2008 ; Last revised: December 13, 2011