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The Common Factor in Idiosyncratic Volatility: Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications

53 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2012 Last revised: 15 Nov 2015

Bernard Herskovic

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Bryan T. Kelly

University of Chicago - Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hanno N. Lustig

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

New York University Stern School of Business, Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2, 2014

Abstract

We show that firms' idiosyncratic volatility obeys a strong factor structure and that shocks to the common factor in idiosyncratic volatility (CIV) are priced. Stocks in the lowest CIV-beta quintile earn average returns 5.4% per year higher than those in the highest quintile. The CIV factor helps to explain a number of asset pricing anomalies. We provide new evidence linking the CIV factor to income risk faced by households. These three facts are consistent with an incomplete markets heterogeneous-agent model. In the model, CIV is a priced state variable because an increase in idiosyncratic firm volatility raises the average household's marginal utility. The calibrated model matches the high degree of comovement in idiosyncratic volatilities, the CIV-beta return spread, and several other asset price moments.

Keywords: Firm volatility, Idiosyncratic risk, Cross-section of stock returns

JEL Classification: E3, E20, G1, L14, L25

Suggested Citation

Herskovic, Bernard and Kelly, Bryan T. and Lustig, Hanno N. and Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, The Common Factor in Idiosyncratic Volatility: Quantitative Asset Pricing Implications (December 2, 2014). Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Forthcoming; Fama-Miller Working Paper; Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 12-54. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2174541 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2174541

Bernard Herskovic

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

HOME PAGE: http://bernardherskovic.com

Bryan Kelly (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Finance ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-8359 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Hanno Lustig

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

Stanford GSB
655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA California 94305-6072
United States
3108716532 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

New York University Stern School of Business, Department of Finance ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-190
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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