The Recovery Theorem


Stephen Ross, Ph.D.

We can only estimate the distribution of stock returns but from option prices we observe the distribution of state prices. State prices are the product of risk aversion — the pricing kernel — and the natural probability distribution. The Recovery Theorem enables us to separate these so as to determine the market’s forecast of returns and the market’s risk aversion from state prices alone. Among other things, this allows us to recover the pricing kernel, the market risk premium, the probability of a catastrophe, and to construct model free tests of the efficient market hypothesis.


  • The information contained herein is only current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. This information is not intended to, and does not relate specifically to any investment strategy or product that AQR offers. It is being provided merely to provide a framework to assist in the implementation of an investor’s own analysis and an investor’s own view on the topic discussed herein. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.