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Rational Capital Budgeting in an Irrational World

  • Jeremy C. Stein

This paper addresses the following basic capital budgeting question: 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? I show 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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5496.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5496.

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Date of creation: Mar 1996
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Publication status: published as Journal of Business, vol.69, no.4, October 1996, pp. 429-455.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5496
Note: AP CF
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  1. Froot, Kenneth A & Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1993. " Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1629-58, December.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Changyong Rhee & Lawrence Summers, 1990. "The Stock Market, Profit and Investment," NBER Working Papers 3370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rafael La Porta & Josef Lakonishok & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1995. "Good News for Value Stocks: Further Evidence on Market Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 5311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Spiess, D. Katherine & Affleck-Graves, John, 1995. "Underperformance in long-run stock returns following seasoned equity offerings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 243-267, July.
  6. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-69, November.
  7. Basu, S, 1977. "Investment Performance of Common Stocks in Relation to Their Price-Earnings Ratios: A Test of the Efficient Market Hypothesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(3), pages 663-82, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Barry Bosworth, 1975. "The Stock Market and the Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 6(2), pages 527-300.
  10. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1989. " The Size and Incidence of the Losses from Noise Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 681-96, July.
  11. Stein, Jeremy C, 1988. "Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 61-80, February.
  12. David Ikenberry & Josef Lakonishok & Theo Vermaelen, 1994. "Market Underreaction to Open Market Share Repurchases," NBER Working Papers 4965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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 1579-93, December.
  14. Laffont, J. J. & Tirole, J., 1988. "Repeated Auctions of Incentive Contracts, Investment and Bidding Parity with an Application to Takeovers," Working Papers 675, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  15. 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.
  16. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
  17. 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 1739-64, December.
  18. 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 1343-66, September.
  19. 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 135-48, March.
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