The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics

Author: Burton G. Malkiel

A generation ago, the efficient market hypothesis was widely accepted by academic financial economists; for example, see Eugene Fama’s (1970) influential survey article, “Efficient Capital Markets.” It was generally believed that securities markets were extremely efficient in reflecting information about individual stocks and about the stock market as a whole. The accepted view was that when information arises, the news spreads very quickly and is incorporated into the prices of securities without delay. Thus, neither technical analysis, which is the study of past stock prices in an attempt to predict future prices, nor even fundamental analysis, which is the analysis of financial information such as company earnings and asset values to help investors select “undervalued” stocks, would enable an investor to achieve returns greater than those that could be obtained by holding a randomly selected portfolio of individual stocks, at least not with comparable risk.

Malkiel, M. G. 2003, "The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics", Journal of Economic Perspectives 17, no. 1 (Winter 2003)

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