Finance Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2014

Publication Source

Review of Financial Studies

Volume

27

Issue

2

Start Page

617

Last Page

661

DOI

10.1093/rfs/hht047

Abstract

Controlling for unobserved heterogeneity (or “common errors”), such as industry-specific shocks, is a fundamental challenge in empirical research.This paper discusses the limitations of two approaches widely used in corporate finance and asset pricing research: demeaning the dependent variable with respect to the group (e.g., “industry-adjusting”) and adding the mean of the group's dependent variable as a control. We show that these methods produce inconsistent estimates and can distort inference. In contrast, the fixed effects estimator is consistent and should be used instead. We also explain how to estimate the fixed effects model when traditional methods are computationally infeasible.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Review of Financial Studies following peer review. The version of record is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rfs/hht047.

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.