Asset Allocation

Mapping Investable Return Sources to Macro Environments

Topics - Asset Allocation Strategic Asset Allocation Factor/Style Investing

Read Time - 20 mins

${ numberSection } ${ text }
Mapping Investable Return Sources to Macro Environments

We explore the empirical relationships between investable strategies (asset classes and style premia) and macroeconomic environments.

Identifying these relationships is not straightforward — results often depend on design choices as well as time periods — but this additional perspective may help investors to identify portfolio risks and potentially benefit from increased diversification.

We find that style premia have meaningfully less macro exposure than do asset classes. Additionally, we provide further evidence on the benefits of diversification: namely, that a well-diversified portfolio (both for asset classes and style premia) may rely less on a specific macroeconomic outcome for success.

We also identify environments that are most challenging for asset classes and style premia, such as ones marked by illiquid, unstable conditions.

This analysis can help bridge macroeconomic forecasts to investment decisions, but the difficulty of forecasting and the potential instability of mapping relations limit the usefulness in tactical timing.

AQR Capital Management, LLC, (“AQR”) provide links to third-party websites only as a convenience, and the inclusion of such links does not imply any endorsement, approval, investigation, verification or monitoring by us of any content or information contained within or accessible from the linked sites. If you choose to visit the linked sites, you do so at your own risk, and you will be subject to such sites' terms of use and privacy policies, over which has no control. In no event will AQR be responsible for any information or content within the linked sites or your use of the linked sites.

The information contained herein is only as current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AQR Capital Management, LLC, its affiliates or its employees. This information is not intended to, and does not relate specifically to any investment strategy or product that AQR offers. It is being provided merely to provide a framework to assist in the implementation of an investor’s own analysis and an investor’s own view on the topic discussed herein. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.


Hypothetical performance results have many inherent limitations, some of which, but not all, are described herein. The hypothetical performance shown was derived from the retroactive application of a model developed with the benefit of hindsight.  Hypothetical performance results are presented for illustrative purposes only.


Diversification does not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment loss.


Certain publications may have been written prior to the author being an employee of AQR.

This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.


AQR Capital Management is a global investment management firm, which may or may not apply similar investment techniques or methods of analysis as described herein. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of AQR.