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Herold, Ulf
Maurer, Raimond
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Working Paper Series: Finance & Accounting 94
Estimation risk is known to have a huge impact on mean/variance (MV) optimized portfolios, which is one of the primary reasons to make standard Markowitz optimization unfeasible in practice. Several approaches to incorporate estimation risk into portfolio selection are suggested in the earlier literature. These papers regularly discuss heuristic approaches (e.g., placing restrictions on portfolio weights) and Bayesian estimators. Among the Bayesian class of estimators, we will focus in this paper on the Bayes/Stein estimator developed by Jorion (1985, 1986), which is probably the most popular estimator. We will show that optimal portfolios based on the Bayes/Stein estimator correspond to portfolios on the original mean-variance efficient frontier with a higher risk aversion. We quantify this increase in risk aversion. Furthermore, we review a relatively new approach introduced by Michaud (1998), resampling efficiency. Michaud argues that the limitations of MV efficiency in practice generally derive from a lack of statistical understanding of MV optimization. He advocates a statistical view of MV optimization that leads to new procedures that can reduce estimation risk. Resampling efficiency has been contrasted to standard Markowitz portfolios until now, but not to other approaches which explicitly incorporate estimation risk. This paper attempts to fill this gap. Optimal portfolios based on the Bayes/Stein estimator and resampling efficiency are compared in an empirical out-of-sample study in terms of their Sharpe ratio and in terms of stochastic dominance.
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