# Three essays in financial economics: asset pricing, optimal portfolio selection and financial integration

### Details

Serval ID

serval:BIB_A0E6420D85B2

Type

**PhD thesis**: a PhD thesis.

Collection

Publications

Fund

Title

Three essays in financial economics: asset pricing, optimal portfolio selection and financial integration

Director(s)

Danthine J.-P.

Institution

Université de Lausanne, Faculté des hautes études commerciales

Publication state

Accepted

Issued date

06/2006

Language

english

Number of pages

146

Notes

REROID:R004152362

Abstract

Executive Summary

The unifying theme of this thesis is the pursuit of a satisfactory ways to quantify the riskureward trade-off in financial economics. First in the context of a general asset pricing model, then across models and finally across country borders. The guiding principle in that pursuit was to seek innovative solutions by combining ideas from different fields in economics and broad scientific research. For example, in the first part of this thesis we sought a fruitful application of strong existence results in utility theory to topics in asset pricing. In the second part we implement an idea from the field of fuzzy set theory to the optimal portfolio selection problem, while the third part of this thesis is to the best of our knowledge, the first empirical application of some general results in asset pricing in incomplete markets to the important topic of measurement of financial integration. While the first two parts of this thesis effectively combine well-known ways to quantify the risk-reward trade-offs the third one can be viewed as an empirical verification of the usefulness of the so-called "good deal bounds" theory in designing risk-sensitive pricing bounds.

Chapter 1 develops a discrete-time asset pricing model, based on a novel ordinally equivalent representation of recursive utility. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to use a member of a novel class of recursive utility generators to construct a representative agent model to address some long-lasting issues in asset pricing. Applying strong representation results allows us to show that the model features countercyclical risk premia, for both consumption and financial risk, together with low and procyclical risk free rate. As the recursive utility used nests as a special case the well-known time-state separable utility, all results nest the corresponding ones from the standard model and thus shed light on its well-known shortcomings. The empirical investigation to support these theoretical results, however, showed that as long as one resorts to econometric methods based on approximating conditional moments with unconditional ones, it is not possible to distinguish the model we propose from the standard one.

Chapter 2 is a join work with Sergei Sontchik. There we provide theoretical and empirical motivation for aggregation of performance measures. The main idea is that as it makes sense to apply several performance measures ex-post, it also makes sense to base optimal portfolio selection on ex-ante maximization of as many possible performance measures as desired. We thus offer a concrete algorithm for optimal portfolio selection via ex-ante optimization over different horizons of several risk-return trade-offs simultaneously. An empirical application of that algorithm, using seven popular performance measures, suggests that realized returns feature better distributional characteristics relative to those of realized returns from portfolio strategies optimal with respect to single performance measures. When comparing the distributions of realized returns we used two partial risk-reward orderings first and second order stochastic dominance. We first used the Kolmogorov Smirnov test to determine if the two distributions are indeed different, which combined with a visual inspection allowed us to demonstrate that the way we propose to aggregate performance measures leads to portfolio realized returns that first order stochastically dominate the ones that result from optimization only with respect to, for example, Treynor ratio and Jensen's alpha. We checked for second order stochastic dominance via point wise comparison of the so-called absolute Lorenz curve, or the sequence of expected shortfalls for a range of quantiles. As soon as the plot of the absolute Lorenz curve for the aggregated performance measures was above the one corresponding to each individual measure, we were tempted to conclude that the algorithm we propose leads to portfolio returns distribution that second order stochastically dominates virtually all performance measures considered.

Chapter 3 proposes a measure of financial integration, based on recent advances in asset pricing in incomplete markets. Given a base market (a set of traded assets) and an index of another market, we propose to measure financial integration through time by the size of the spread between the pricing bounds of the market index, relative to the base market. The bigger the spread around country index A, viewed from market B, the less integrated markets A and B are. We investigate the presence of structural breaks in the size of the spread for EMU member country indices before and after the introduction of the Euro. We find evidence that both the level and the volatility of our financial integration measure increased after the introduction of the Euro. That counterintuitive result suggests the presence of an inherent weakness in the attempt to measure financial integration independently of economic fundamentals. Nevertheless, the results about the bounds on the risk free rate appear plausible from the view point of existing economic theory about the impact of integration on interest rates.

The unifying theme of this thesis is the pursuit of a satisfactory ways to quantify the riskureward trade-off in financial economics. First in the context of a general asset pricing model, then across models and finally across country borders. The guiding principle in that pursuit was to seek innovative solutions by combining ideas from different fields in economics and broad scientific research. For example, in the first part of this thesis we sought a fruitful application of strong existence results in utility theory to topics in asset pricing. In the second part we implement an idea from the field of fuzzy set theory to the optimal portfolio selection problem, while the third part of this thesis is to the best of our knowledge, the first empirical application of some general results in asset pricing in incomplete markets to the important topic of measurement of financial integration. While the first two parts of this thesis effectively combine well-known ways to quantify the risk-reward trade-offs the third one can be viewed as an empirical verification of the usefulness of the so-called "good deal bounds" theory in designing risk-sensitive pricing bounds.

Chapter 1 develops a discrete-time asset pricing model, based on a novel ordinally equivalent representation of recursive utility. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to use a member of a novel class of recursive utility generators to construct a representative agent model to address some long-lasting issues in asset pricing. Applying strong representation results allows us to show that the model features countercyclical risk premia, for both consumption and financial risk, together with low and procyclical risk free rate. As the recursive utility used nests as a special case the well-known time-state separable utility, all results nest the corresponding ones from the standard model and thus shed light on its well-known shortcomings. The empirical investigation to support these theoretical results, however, showed that as long as one resorts to econometric methods based on approximating conditional moments with unconditional ones, it is not possible to distinguish the model we propose from the standard one.

Chapter 2 is a join work with Sergei Sontchik. There we provide theoretical and empirical motivation for aggregation of performance measures. The main idea is that as it makes sense to apply several performance measures ex-post, it also makes sense to base optimal portfolio selection on ex-ante maximization of as many possible performance measures as desired. We thus offer a concrete algorithm for optimal portfolio selection via ex-ante optimization over different horizons of several risk-return trade-offs simultaneously. An empirical application of that algorithm, using seven popular performance measures, suggests that realized returns feature better distributional characteristics relative to those of realized returns from portfolio strategies optimal with respect to single performance measures. When comparing the distributions of realized returns we used two partial risk-reward orderings first and second order stochastic dominance. We first used the Kolmogorov Smirnov test to determine if the two distributions are indeed different, which combined with a visual inspection allowed us to demonstrate that the way we propose to aggregate performance measures leads to portfolio realized returns that first order stochastically dominate the ones that result from optimization only with respect to, for example, Treynor ratio and Jensen's alpha. We checked for second order stochastic dominance via point wise comparison of the so-called absolute Lorenz curve, or the sequence of expected shortfalls for a range of quantiles. As soon as the plot of the absolute Lorenz curve for the aggregated performance measures was above the one corresponding to each individual measure, we were tempted to conclude that the algorithm we propose leads to portfolio returns distribution that second order stochastically dominates virtually all performance measures considered.

Chapter 3 proposes a measure of financial integration, based on recent advances in asset pricing in incomplete markets. Given a base market (a set of traded assets) and an index of another market, we propose to measure financial integration through time by the size of the spread between the pricing bounds of the market index, relative to the base market. The bigger the spread around country index A, viewed from market B, the less integrated markets A and B are. We investigate the presence of structural breaks in the size of the spread for EMU member country indices before and after the introduction of the Euro. We find evidence that both the level and the volatility of our financial integration measure increased after the introduction of the Euro. That counterintuitive result suggests the presence of an inherent weakness in the attempt to measure financial integration independently of economic fundamentals. Nevertheless, the results about the bounds on the risk free rate appear plausible from the view point of existing economic theory about the impact of integration on interest rates.

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13/07/2010 14:56

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03/03/2018 20:06