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2018/2019  KAN-COECO1050U  Asset Pricing

English Title
Asset Pricing

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory offered as elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Advanced Economics and Finance
Course coordinator
  • Paul Whelan - Department of Finance (FI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Finance
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 31-05-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • The student should be able to account for selected asset pricing theories (or models).
  • The student should be able to discuss the strength and weakness in those theories (or models).
  • The student should be able to apply the appropriate model on a given issue.
  • The student should be able to reflect on the implications of alternative models on a given issue.
Course prerequisites
This is a mandatory course for the MSc in Advanced Economics and Finance. It is assumed that students have knowledge similar to the entry requirements for this programme. The course has 45 confrontation hours and there is a high level of interaction betw. lecturer and students, and in general a high work load.

The course assumes mathematical knowledge up to advanced college level or 1st year under-graduate level. This means basic analysis, univariate calculus, linear algebra, and probability.

To sign up send a 1-page motivational letter, a 1-page CV, and a grade transcript to oecon.eco@cbs.dk no later than 24 April 2018. Please also remember to sign up through the online registration
The exam in the subject consists of two parts:
Asset Pricing - midterm:
Sub exam weight30%
Examination formHome assignment - written product
Individual or group examIndividual exam
Size of written productMax. 10 pages
Assignment typeWritten assignment
Duration7 days to prepare
Grading scale7-step scale
Examiner(s)One internal examiner
Exam periodWinter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Asset Pricing - final:
Sub exam weight70%
Examination formWritten sit-in exam on CBS' computers
Individual or group examIndividual exam
Assignment typeWritten assignment
Duration3 hours
Grading scale7-step scale
Examiner(s)One internal examiner
Exam periodWinter
AidsLimited aids, see the list below:
The student is allowed to bring
  • Non-programmable, financial calculators: HP10bll+ or Texas BA II Plus
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Description of the exam procedure

Written sit-in exam split in two sections:

•    Five short questions counting for 65% of total exam grade.
•    One long question counting for 35% of total exam grade.

Course content and structure

Asset pricing theory is the subject of uncertain cash flow valuation in terms of risk adjustments. Empirical work typically infers these risk adjustments, imbedded in low average prices, from high average returns. For example, the equity risk premium  
inferred from time-series evidence on returns suggests an adjustment that is an order of magnitude too large to be rationalised by neoclassical theory. Return anomalies are also pervasive in the cross-section of assets as evidenced by a vast literature that rejects the Capital Asset Pricing Model in favour of a multiple priced risk factors. 


This course provides a first principles account of discrete time asset pricing theory.
The course begins by discussing how to represent investor preferences. The utility function representation of preferences is then applied to a host of optimal portfolio choice problems in a single period setting. Then stochastic discount factor 
approach to asset pricing is then introduced which as a special case includes the Capital Asset Pricing Model and Lucas Tree Economy. The empirical validity and practical use of such models is explored in practical assignments. These assignments are designed to highlight the central failures of the benchmark model. Later in the course we introduce some well studied solutions to the classic asset pricing anomalies including the introduction of long run risks, habit formation, investor heterogeneity, and production based asset pricing. Finally, we conclude by reviewing some recent evidence on the role of monetary policy and frictions in asset pricing. 


The syllabus is both exciting and extensive covering:


•    Choice Under Uncertainty, Utility Functions, and Risk Aversion
•    Static Portfolio Choice
•    The Capital Asset Pricing Model and Multi-Factor Models
•    The Stochastic Discount Factor
•    State Pricing
•    Risk Neutral Pricing
•    Present Value Relations

•    Consumption Based Models
•    Production Based Models
•    Intertemporal Risk


Description of the teaching methods
• 9 lectures
• 4 problem classes
• 1 summary / revision class
Feedback during the teaching period
Exercises Classes
Course works
Student workload
Lectures 42 hours
Preparation 139 hours
Exam 25 hours
Further Information

PhD students taking the CBS PhD course in Asset Pricing are following a large part of this course and may be present during the lecture sessions.

Expected literature


•    ‘Finance Decisions and Markets: A Course in Asset Pricing’, John Campbell
•    ‘Theory of Asset Pricing’, George Pennacchi
•    ‘Asset Pricing’, John Cochrane
•    Papers and Course Notes

Last updated on 31-05-2018