Is there a priced risk factor associated with conservatism?

Kerstin Lopatta (Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, University of Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany)
Felix Canitz (Carl von Ossietzky Universitat, Oldenburg, Germany)
Christian Fieberg (Bremer Landesbank, Bremen, Germany)

Journal of Risk Finance

ISSN: 1526-5943

Publication date: 21 November 2016



García Lara et al. (2011) argue that there is a conservatism-related priced risk factor in US stock returns. To put this to the test, the authors aim to analyze whether the conditional conservatism effect comes from the loading on a conditional conservatism-related factor-mimicking portfolio (systematic risk) or the conservatism characteristic itself.


The authors form characteristic-balanced portfolios from dependent sorts of stocks on the firm’s degree of conservatism and the firm’s loading on the conservatism-related factor-mimicking portfolio as proposed by Daniel and Titman (1997) and Davis et al. (2000).


The tests indicate that it is the conditional conservatism characteristic rather than the factor loading that explains the cross-sectional differences in average stock returns. Consequently, they do not find evidence for a conservatism-related priced risk factor.


This finding suggests that investors misvalue the conservatism characteristic and casts doubt on the rational risk explanation as proposed by García Lara et al. (2011).



Lopatta, K., Canitz, F. and Fieberg, C. (2016), "Is there a priced risk factor associated with conservatism?", Journal of Risk Finance, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 545-561.

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