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Rational Capital Budgeting in an Irrational World

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  • Stein, Jeremy C

Abstract

This article addresses the following basic capital budgeting problem: suppose that cross-sectional differences in stock returns can be predicted based on variables other than beta (e.g., book-to-market) and that this predictability reflects market irrationality rather than compensation for fundamental risk. In this setting, how should companies determine hurdle rates? The author shows how factors such as managerial time horizons and financial constraints affect the optimal hurdle rate. Under some circumstances, beta can be useful as a capital budgeting tool, even if it is of no use in predicting stock returns. Copyright 1996 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jnlbus:v:69:y:1996:i:4:p:429-55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stein, Jeremy C, 1988. "Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 61-80, February.
    2. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-1366, September.
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    5. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Repeated Auctions of Incentive Contracts, Investment, and Bidding Parity with an Application to Takeovers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 516-537, Winter.
    6. Fischer, Stanley & Merton, Robert C., 1984. "Macroeconomics and finance: The role of the stock market," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-108, January.
    7. Jeremy C. Stein, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-669.
    8. Davis, James L, 1994. " The Cross-Section of Realized Stock Returns: The Pre-COMPUSTAT Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1579-1593, December.
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    13. Jaffe, Jeffrey & Keim, Donald B & Westerfield, Randolph, 1989. " Earnings Yields, Market Values, and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 135-148, March.
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    15. 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.
    16. Ikenberry, David & Lakonishok, Josef & Vermaelen, Theo, 1995. "Market underreaction to open market share repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 181-208.
    17. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. " Good News for Value Stocks: Further Evidence on Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 859-874, June.
    18. Keim, Donald B., 1983. "Size-related anomalies and stock return seasonality : Further empirical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 13-32, June.
    19. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
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