Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2001-24
This paper uses minimum-variance (MV) admissible kernels to estimate risk premia associated with economic risk variables and to test multi-beta models. Estimating risk premia using MV kernels is appealing because it avoids the need to 1) identify all relevant sources of risk and 2) assume a linear factor model for asset returns. Testing multi-beta models in terms of restricted MV kernels has the advantage that 1) the candidate kernel has the smallest volatility and 2) test statistics are easy to interpret in terms of Sharpe ratios. The authors find that several economic variables command significant risk premia and that the signs of the premia mostly correspond to the effect that these variables have on the risk-return trade-off, consistent with the implications of the intertemporal capital asset pricing model (I-CAPM). They also find that the MV kernel implied by the I-CAPM, while formally rejected by the data, consistently outperforms a pricing kernel based on the size and book-to-market factors of Fama and French (1993).