NBER Working Papers by Chen Xue

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Working Papers

May 2017Replicating Anomalies
with Kewei Hou, Lu Zhang: w23394
The anomalies literature is infested with widespread p-hacking. We replicate the entire anomalies literature in finance and accounting by compiling a largest-to-date data library that contains 447 anomaly variables. With microcaps alleviated via New York Stock Exchange breakpoints and value-weighted returns, 286 anomalies (64%) including 95 out of 102 liquidity variables (93%) are insignificant at the conventional 5% level. Imposing the cutoff t-value of three raises the number of insignificance to 380 (85%). Even for the 161 significant anomalies, their magnitudes are often much lower than originally reported. Out of the 161, the q-factor model leaves 115 alphas insignificant (150 with t < 3). In all, capital markets are more efficient than previously recognized.
November 2014A Comparison of New Factor Models
with Kewei Hou, Lu Zhang: w20682
This paper compares the Hou, Xue, and Zhang (2014) q-factor model and the Fama and French (2014a) five-factor model on both conceptual and empirical grounds. It raises four concerns with the motivation of the five-factor model: The internal rate of return often correlates negatively with the one-period-ahead expected return; the value factor seems redundant in the data; the expected investment tends to correlate positively with the one-period-ahead expected return; and past investment is a poor proxy for the expected investment. Empirically, the four-factor q-model outperforms the five-factor model, especially in capturing price and earnings momentum.
October 2012Digesting Anomalies: An Investment Approach
with Kewei Hou, Lu Zhang: w18435
Motivated from investment-based asset pricing, we propose a new factor model consisting of the market factor, a size factor, an investment factor, and a return on equity factor. The new factor model outperforms the Carhart four-factor model in pricing portfolios formed on earnings surprise, idiosyncratic volatility, financial distress, net stock issues, composite issuance, as well as on investment and return on equity. The new model performs similarly as the Carhart model in pricing portfolios formed on size and momentum, abnormal corporate investment, as well as on size and book-to-market, but underperforms in pricing the total accrual deciles. The new model's performance, combined with its clear economic intuition, suggests that it can be used as a new workhorse model for academic resear...

Published: Digesting Anomalies: An Investment Approach Kewei Hou, Chen Xue and Lu Zhang Rev. Financ. Stud. (2015) 28 (3): 650-705. doi: 10.1093/rfs/hhu068 First published online: September 26, 2014

September 2010Cross-sectional Tobin's Q
with Frederico Belo, Lu Zhang: w16336
The neoclassical investment model matches cross-sectional asset prices both in first differences and in levels. With ten book-to-market deciles as the testing portfolios, the investment model largely matches the Tobin's Q spread and the average return spread across the extreme deciles. The parameter estimates imply low adjustment costs around 1.7% of sales. The model's fit results from three aspects of our econometric strategy: (i) We test the model at the portfolio level to alleviate the impact of measurement errors; (ii) we match the first moment to mitigate the impact of temporal misalignment between asset prices and investment; and (iii) we allow for nonlinear marginal costs of investment. Our evidence suggests that any differences between the intrinsic value of equity and the market v...

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