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New estimates of the cost of capital for pharmaceutical firms

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  • Giaccotto, Carmelo
  • Golec, Joseph
  • Vernon, John
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    Abstract

    Academic researchers, as well as pharmaceutical firms themselves, often use the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) to estimate a firm's cost of capital. But the CAPM implicitly assumes that cash flows follow a random walk. This assumption is inconsistent with our finding that large U.S.-based pharmaceutical firms' cash flow growth rates display either momentum or mean-reversion. We show that growth rate momentum implies: (1) the systematic risk of a project increases monotonically with time to maturity of the cash flows; and (2) longer duration projects require a higher cost of capital. One of the practical implications of our results is that the traditional CAPM underestimates the cost of capital for some pharmaceutical firms by as much as 2.8%. These findings are quite relevant for the policy debate about the high rates of return earned by pharmaceutical companies, which some claim are pure rents and are not necessary to attract investors. Our theoretical and empirical analysis shows that high returns are often required to compensate for the higher systematic risk of long-duration pharmaceutical cash flows.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Corporate Finance.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 526-540

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:526-540

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jcorpfin

    Related research

    Keywords: Cost of capital R& D MCMC;

    References

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    1. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G., 2003. "The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 151-185, March.
    2. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    5. Yexiao Xu & Burton G. Malkiel, 2003. "Investigating the Behavior of Idiosyncratic Volatility," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76(4), pages 613-644, October.
    6. Ivanov, Vladimir & Lewis, Craig M., 2008. "The determinants of market-wide issue cycles for initial public offerings," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 567-583, December.
    7. Ferson, Wayne E. & Foerster, Stephen R., 1994. "Finite sample properties of the generalized method of moments in tests of conditional asset pricing models," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 29-55, August.
    8. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 2004. "New lists: Fundamentals and survival rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 229-269, August.
    9. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    10. Giaccotto, Carmelo & Santerre, Rexford E & Vernon, John A, 2005. "Drug Prices and Research and Development Investment Behavior in the Pharmaceutical Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 195-214, April.
    11. Grabowski, Henry G & Vernon, John M, 1987. "Pioneers, Imitators, and Generics--A Simulation Model of Schumpeterian Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 491-525, August.
    12. Chib, Siddhartha & Greenberg, Edward, 1994. "Bayes inference in regression models with ARMA (p, q) errors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 183-206.
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