The Capital Asset Pricing Model: Some Empirical Tests
Michael C. Jensen
Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
Sloan School of Management, MIT (Deceased)
Myron S. Scholes
Stanford Graduate School of Business; Platinum Grove Asset Management L.P.; Oak Hill Platinum Partners, LLC
Michael C. Jensen, STUDIES IN THE THEORY OF CAPITAL MARKETS, Praeger Publishers Inc., 1972
Considerable attention has recently been given to general equilibrium models of the pricing of capital assets. Of these, perhaps the best known is the mean-variance formulation originally developed by Sharpe (1964) and Treynor (1961), and extended and clarified by Lintner (1965a; 1965b), Mossin (1966), Fama (1968a; 1968b), and Long (1972). In addition Treynor (1965), Sharpe (1966), and Jensen (1968; 1969) have developed portfolio evaluation models which are either based on this asset pricing model or bear a close relation to it. In the development of the asset pricing model it is assumed that (1) all investors are single period risk-averse utility of terminal wealth maximizers and can choose among portfolios solely on the basis of mean and variance, (2) there are no taxes or transactions costs, (3) all investors have homogeneous views regarding the parameters of the joint probability distribution of all security returns, and (4) all investors can borrow and lend at a given riskless rate of interest. The main result of the model is a statement of the relation between the expected risk premiums on individual assets and their "systematic risk." Our main purpose is to present some additional tests of this asset pricing model which avoid some of the problems of earlier studies and which, we believe, provide additional insights into the nature of the structure of security returns.
The evidence presented in Section II indicates the expected excess return on an asset is not strictly proportional to its B, and we believe that this evidence, coupled with that given in Section IV, is sufficiently strong to warrant rejection of the traditional form of the model given by (1). We then show in Section III how the cross-sectional tests are subject to measurement error bias, provide a solution to this problem through grouping procedures, and show how cross-sectional methods are relevant to testing the expanded two-factor form of the model. We show in Section IV that the mean of the beta factor has had a positive trend over the period 1931-65 and was on the order of 1.0 to 1.3% per month in the two sample intervals we examined in the period 1948-65. This seems to have been significantly different from the average risk-free rate and indeed is roughly the same size as the average market return of 1.3 and 1.2% per month over the two sample intervals in this period. This evidence seems to be sufficiently strong enough to warrant rejection of the traditional form of the model given by (1). In addition, the standard deviation of the beta factor over these two sample intervals was 2.0 and 2.2% per month, as compared with the standard deviation of the market factor of 3.6 and 3.8% per month. Thus the beta factor seems to be an important determinant of security returns.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54
Keywords: capital asset pricing, measurements, Cross-sectional Tests, Two-Factor Model, aggregation problem
JEL Classification: G10, G12, G14
Date posted: June 13, 2006