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Failure of Non-causal Factor Strategies

May 6, 2024 • Posted in Big Ideas, Investing Expertise

Do widely used associational (rather than causal) methods used by researchers to specify factor models of asset returns work? In their March 2024 paper entitled “The Case for Causal Factor Investing”, Marcos Lopez de Prado, Alex Lipton and Vincent Zoonekynd describe the shortcomings of associational methods of factor model development. They address p-hacking (data snooping), with focus on interferences from variables called colliders (causally influenced by two or more variables) and confounders (influencing both dependent and independent variables). They further describe what can be done to correct these shortcomings. Based on logical/mathematical analysis and the body of financial markets research, they conclude that:


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