IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v18y2004i3p25-46.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Capital Asset Pricing Model: Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Eugene F. Fama
  • Kenneth R. French

Abstract

The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) of William Sharpe (1964) and John Lintner (1965) marks the birth of asset pricing theory (resulting in a Nobel Prize for Sharpe in 1990). Before their breakthrough, there were no asset pricing models built from first principles about the nature of tastes and investment opportunities and with clear testable predictions about risk and return. Four decades later, the CAPM is still widely used in applications, such as estimating the cost of equity capital for firms and evaluating the performance of managed portfolios. And it is the centerpiece, indeed often the only asset pricing model taught in MBA level investment courses. The attraction of the CAPM is its powerfully simple logic and intuitively pleasing predictions about how to measure risk and about the relation between expected return and risk. Unfortunately, perhaps because of its simplicity, the empirical record of the model is poor--poor enough to invalidate the way it is used in applications. The model's empirical problems may reflect true failings. (It is, after all, just a model.) But they may also be due to shortcomings of the empirical tests, most notably, poor proxies for the market portfolio of invested wealth, which plays a central role in the model's predictions. We argue, however, that if the market proxy problem invalidates tests of the model, it also invalidates most applications, which typically borrow the market proxies used in empirical tests. For perspective on the CAPM's predictions about risk and expected return, we begin with a brief summary of its logic. We then review the history of empirical work on the model and what it says about shortcomings of the CAPM that pose challenges to be explained by more complicated models.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2004. "The Capital Asset Pricing Model: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 25-46, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:18:y:2004:i:3:p:25-46 Note: DOI: 10.1257/0895330042162430
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0895330042162430
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mitchell, Mark L & Stafford, Erik, 2000. "Managerial Decisions and Long-Term Stock Price Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(3), pages 287-329, July.
    2. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    3. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-465, June.
    4. Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2002. "What Drives Firm-Level Stock Returns?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 233-264, February.
    5. Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The arbitrage theory of capital asset pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 341-360.
    6. Fama, Eugene F., 1996. "Multifactor Portfolio Efficiency and Multifactor Asset Pricing," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(04), pages 441-465, December.
    7. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
    8. Chan, Louis K C & Hamao, Yasushi & Lakonishok, Josef, 1991. " Fundamentals and Stock Returns in Japan," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1739-1764, December.
    9. Blume, Marshall E & Friend, Irwin, 1973. "A New Look at the Capital Asset Pricing Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 28(1), pages 19-33, March.
    10. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
    11. Michael C. Jensen, 1968. "The Performance Of Mutual Funds In The Period 1945–1964," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 23(2), pages 389-416, May.
    12. Lubos Pástor & Robert F. Stambaugh, 1999. "Costs of Equity Capital and Model Mispricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 67-121, February.
    13. Reinganum, Marc R., 1981. "A New Empirical Perspective on the CAPM," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 439-462, November.
    14. repec:bla:joares:v:38:y:2000:i::p:1-41 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Stein, Jeremy C, 1996. "Rational Capital Budgeting in an Irrational World," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(4), pages 429-455, October.
    16. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1982. "On the exclusion of assets from tests of the two-parameter model : A sensitivity analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 237-268.
    17. Bhandari, Laxmi Chand, 1988. " Debt/Equity Ratio and Expected Common Stock Returns: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(2), pages 507-528, June.
    18. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, September.
    19. Gibbons, Michael R., 1982. "Multivariate tests of financial models : A new approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 3-27, March.
    20. Roll, Richard, 1977. "A critique of the asset pricing theory's tests Part I: On past and potential testability of the theory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 129-176, March.
    21. Ball, Ray, 1978. "Anomalies in relationships between securities' yields and yield-surrogates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2-3), pages 103-126.
    22. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
    23. Black, Fischer, 1972. "Capital Market Equilibrium with Restricted Borrowing," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 444-455, July.
    24. Kothari, S P & Shanken, Jay & Sloan, Richard G, 1995. " Another Look at the Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 185-224, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:18:y:2004:i:3:p:25-46. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.