Consumption-Based Asset Pricing Models

Posted: 4 Nov 2012

See all articles by Rajnish Mehra

Rajnish Mehra

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P Carey School of Business, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2012


A major research initiative in finance focuses on the determinants of the cross-sectional and time series properties of asset returns. With that objective in mind, asset pricing models have been developed, starting with the capital asset pricing models of Sharpe (1964), Lintner (1965), and Mossin (1966). Consumption-based asset pricing models use marginal rates of substitution to determine the relative prices of the date, event-contingent, composite consumption good. This model class is characterized by a stochastic discount factor process that puts restrictions on the joint process of asset returns and per capita consumption. This review takes a critical look at this class of models and their inability to rationalize the statistics that have characterized US financial markets over the past century. The intuition behind the discrepancy between model prediction and empirical data is explained. Finally, the research efforts to enhance the model's ability to replicate the empirical data are summarized.

Suggested Citation

Mehra, Rajnish, Consumption-Based Asset Pricing Models (October 2012). Annual Review of Financial Economics, Vol. 4, pp. 385-409, 2012. Available at SSRN: or

Rajnish Mehra (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P Carey School of Business, Department of Economics ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3806
United States
480 965 6335 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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