NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Aggregate Idiosyncratic Volatility

Geert Bekaert, Robert J. Hodrick, Xiaoyan Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 16058
Issued in June 2010
NBER Program(s):   AP   IFM

We examine aggregate idiosyncratic volatility in 23 developed equity markets, measured using various methodologies, and we find no evidence of upward trends when we extend the sample until 2008. Instead, idiosyncratic volatility appears to be well described by a stationary autoregressive process that occasionally switches into a higher-variance regime that has relatively short duration. We also document that idiosyncratic volatility is highly correlated across countries. Finally, we examine the determinants of the time-variation in idiosyncratic volatility. In most specifications, the bulk of idiosyncratic volatility can be explained by a growth opportunity proxy, total (U.S.) market volatility, and in most but not all specifications, the variance premium, a business cycle sensitive risk indicator.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16058

Published: Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J. & Zhang, Xiaoyan, 2012. "Aggregate Idiosyncratic Volatility," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(06), pages 1155-1185, December. citation courtesy of

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