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Resurrecting the (C)CAPM: A Cross-Sectional Test when Risk Premia wre Time-Varying

59 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2000  

Martin Lettau

University of California - Haas School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sydney C. Ludvigson

New York University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 1999

Abstract

This paper explores the ability of theoretically based asset pricing models such as the CAPM and the consumption CAPM-referred to jointly as the (C)CAPM-to explain the cross-section of average stock returns. Unlike many previous empirical tests of the (C)CAPM, we specify the pricing kernel as a conditional linear factor model, as would be expected if risk premia vary over time. Central to our approach is the use of a conditioning variable which proxies for fluctuations in the log consumption-aggregate wealth ratio and is likely to be important for summarizing conditional expectations of excess returns. We demonstrate that such conditional factor models are able to explain a substantial fraction of the cross-sectional variation in portfolio returns. These models perform much better than unconditional (C)CAPM specifications, and about as well as the three-factor Fama-French model on portfolios sorted by size and book-to-market ratios. This specification of the linear conditional consumption CAPM, using aggregate consumption data, is able to account for the difference in returns between low book-to-market and high book-to-market firms and exhibits little evidence of residual size or book-to-market effects.

JEL Classification: E21, G10

Suggested Citation

Lettau, Martin and Ludvigson, Sydney C., Resurrecting the (C)CAPM: A Cross-Sectional Test when Risk Premia wre Time-Varying (November 1999). Eleventh Annual Utah Winter Conference; AFA 2001 New Orleans; FRB of New York Staff Reports, No. 93. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=203369 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.203369

Martin Lettau (Contact Author)

University of California - Haas School of Business ( email )

Haas School of Business
545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
5106436349 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/lettau/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Sydney C. Ludvigson

New York University - Department of Economics ( email )

19 West 4th Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-998-8927 (Phone)
212-995-4186 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.nyu.edu/user/ludvigsons/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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