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Penetrating the Book-to-Market Black Box: The R&D Effect


  • Baruch Lev

    (New York University, USA,)

  • Theodore Sougiannis


The book-to-market (BM) phenomenon - the positive association between BM and subsequent returns - looms large among capital market enigmas. Economic theory postulates that the difference between market and book values of companies reflects their future abnormal profits. We capture these abnormal profits for a large sample of science-based companies by estimating the value of the off-balance sheet investment generating those profits - the value of R&D capital - and show empirically: (i) Firms' R&D capital is associated with their subsequent stock returns. (ii) For R&D intensive firms, this 'R&D effect' subsumes the 'book-to-market effect.' (iii) The association between R&D and subsequent returns appears to result from an extra-market risk factor inherent in R&D, rather than from stock mispricing. We thus provide an explanation for the book-to-market phenomenon of R&D companies. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1999.

Suggested Citation

  • Baruch Lev & Theodore Sougiannis, 1999. "Penetrating the Book-to-Market Black Box: The R&D Effect," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3-4), pages 419-449.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:26:y:1999-04:i:3-4:p:419-449

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