Nikolai Roussanov - Wharton School - University of Pennsylvania
Semiparametric Conditional Factor Models: Estimation and Inference
Qihui Chen (CUHK-Shenzhen)
Nikolai Roussanov (The Wharton School)
Xiaoliang Wang (UPenn)
This paper introduces a simple and tractable sieve estimation of semiparametric conditional factor models with latent factors. We establish large-N-asymptotic properties of the estimators and the tests without requiring large T. We also develop a simple bootstrap procedure for conducting inference about the conditional pricing errors as well as the shapes of the factor loadings functions. These results enable us to estimate conditional factor structure of a large set of individual assets by utilizing arbitrary nonlinear functions of a number of characteristics without the need to pre-specify the factors, while allowing us to disentangle the characteristics' role in capturing factor betas from alphas (i.e., undiversifiable risk from mispricing). We apply these methods to the cross-section of individual U.S. stock returns and find strong evidence of large nonzero pricing errors that combine to produce arbitrage portfolios with Sharpe ratios above 3.