Strides have been made recently in the discovery and refinement of theoretical models which purport to describe the relationship between asset prices and their risk attributes. (See especially Lintner [13,14,15], Sharpe , Mosin [17,18] and Fama [7,8.9].) The models have gained widespread acceptance because of their intuitive appeal and because most reported empirical evidence [1,4,5,11,20,21] allegedly supports their predictive value. It is our purpose to analyze critically one aspect of the nature of this evidence, reveal its inherent weakness, and to design an alternative test to examine the risk-return function. After observing the performance of an extremely large number of issues over long periods of time, we find little support for the notion that risk premiums have, in fact, manifested themselves in realized rates of return.
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