Is Unlevered Firm Volatility Asymmetric?

Asymmetric volatility refers to the stylized fact that stock volatility is negatively correlated to stock returns. Traditionally, this phenomenon has been explained by the financial leverage effect. This explanation has recently been challenged in favor of a risk premium based explanation. We develop a new, unlevering approach to document how well financial leverage, rather than size, beta, book-to-market, or operating leverage, explains volatility asymmetry on a firm-by-firm basis. Our results reveal that, at the firm level, financial leverage explains much of the volatility asymmetry. This result is robust to different unlevering methodologies, samples, and measurement intervals. However, we find that financial leverage does not explain index-level volatility asymmetry, which is consistent with theoretical results in Aydemir, Gallmeyer and Hollifield (2006).

Issue Date:
Jun 16 2009
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
Series Statement:
Working Paper
WP 2009-23

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-25

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