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CAPM for estimating the cost of equity capital: Interpreting the empirical evidence

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  • Da, Zhi
  • Guo, Re-Jin
  • Jagannathan, Ravi

Abstract

We argue that the empirical evidence against the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) based on stock returns does not invalidate its use for estimating the cost of capital for projects in making capital budgeting decisions. Because stocks are backed not only by projects in place, but also by the options to modify current projects and undertake new ones, the expected returns on stocks need not satisfy the CAPM even when expected returns of projects do. We provide empirical support for our arguments by developing a method for estimating firms' project CAPM betas and project returns. Our findings justify the continued use of the CAPM by firms in spite of the mounting evidence against it based on the cross section of stock returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Da, Zhi & Guo, Re-Jin & Jagannathan, Ravi, 2012. "CAPM for estimating the cost of equity capital: Interpreting the empirical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 204-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:103:y:2012:i:1:p:204-220
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2011.08.011
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    CAPM; Asset pricing anomalies; Cost of capital; Beta; Capital budgeting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies

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