Asset Pricing Anomalies and the Low-Risk Puzzle

56 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2018 Last revised: 1 May 2020

See all articles by Ruomeng Liu

Ruomeng Liu

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Date Written: April 30, 2020


The observation that low-risk assets on average have higher risk-adjusted returns relative to high-risk assets – the low-risk effect – is a driving force behind a broad set of well-documented cross-sectional asset pricing anomalies. I document that long-short strategies formed on a wide range of anomaly characteristics tend to buy low-risk and short high-risk assets. I show that this tendency implicitly embeds the low-risk effect in these cross-sectional long-short portfolios. Taking into account the exposure to the low-risk effect attenuates the economic and statistical significance of the risk-adjusted returns to a large set of asset pricing anomalies.

Keywords: Low-risk effect, cross-sectional stock returns, beta anomaly, volatility anomaly

JEL Classification: G12

Suggested Citation

Liu, Ruomeng, Asset Pricing Anomalies and the Low-Risk Puzzle (April 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Ruomeng Liu (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Lincoln ( email )

Lincoln, NE 68588
United States

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