The Journal of Finance

The Journal of Finance publishes leading research across all the major fields of finance. It is one of the most widely cited journals in academic finance, and in all of economics. Each of the six issues per year reaches over 8,000 academics, finance professionals, libraries, and government and financial institutions around the world. The journal is the official publication of The American Finance Association, the premier academic organization devoted to the study and promotion of knowledge about financial economics.

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The WACC Fallacy: The Real Effects of Using a Unique Discount Rate

Published: 02/06/2015   |   DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12250


In this paper, we test whether firms properly adjust for risk in their capital budgeting decisions. If managers use a single discount rate within firms, we expect that conglomerates underinvest (overinvest) in relatively safe (risky) divisions. We measure division relative risk as the difference between the division's asset beta and a firm‐wide beta. We establish a robust and significant positive relationship between division‐level investment and division relative risk. Next, we measure the value loss due to this behavior in the context of acquisitions. When the bidder's beta is lower than that of the target, announcement returns are significantly lower.

Sticky Expectations and the Profitability Anomaly

Published: 10/07/2018   |   DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12734


We propose a theory of the “profitability” anomaly. In our model, investors forecast future profits using a signal and sticky belief dynamics. In this model, past profits forecast future returns (the profitability anomaly). Using analyst forecast data, we measure expectation stickiness at the firm level and find strong support for three additional model predictions: (1) analysts are on average too pessimistic regarding the future profits of high‐profit firms, (2) the profitability anomaly is stronger for stocks that are followed by stickier analysts, and (3) the profitability anomaly is stronger for stocks with more persistent profits.