Useful Factors Are Fewer Than You Think
50 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2023 Last revised: 5 Apr 2023
Date Written: March 14, 2023
We examine how many factors out of a wide range of 207 that have incremental information in explaining cross-sectional stock returns. First, we find that the significance of each factor changes drastically over time. After accounting for false discovery rate (FDR), only 157 out of 207 factors are significant from 1967 to 2021, and only 56 from 2000 to 2021. Second, from 2000 to 2021, we find strikingly that only 3 clusters of factors that have incremental information. We further propose a new flexible time-varying latent factor model, and test in an alternative way on the number of factors that capture the information of the 56 significant factors while controlling for FDR, and find only 3, the market plus 2 latent ones, a number much fewer than widely believed.
Keywords: Asset pricing, Anomaly, Factor model, Time series, False discovery rate, FDR
JEL Classification: G10, C31, C32, C58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation