Recent literature shows that many testing procedures used to evaluate asset pricing models result in spurious rejection probabilities. Model misspecification, the strong factor structure of test assets, or skewed test statistics largely explain this. In this paper we use the relative entropy of pricing kernels to provide an alternative framework for testing asset pricing models. Building on the fact that the law of one price guarantees the existence of a valid pricing kernel, we study the relationship between the mean-variance efficiency of a model’s factor-mimicking portfolio, as measured by the cross-sectional generalized least squares (GLS)
statistic, and the relative entropy of the pricing kernel, as determined by the Kullback–Leibler divergence. In this regard, we suggest an entropy-based decomposition that accurately captures the divergence between the factor-mimicking portfolio and the minimum-variance pricing kernel resulting from the Hansen-Jagannathan bound. Our results show that, although GLS
statistics and relative entropy are strongly correlated, the relative entropy approach allows us to explicitly decompose the explanatory power of the model into two components, namely, the relative entropy of the pricing kernel and that corresponding to its correlation with asset returns. This makes the relative entropy a versatile tool for designing robust tests in asset pricing.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited