Financial economics

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Financial economics is the branch of economics concerned with "the allocation and deployment of economic resources, both spatially and across time, in an uncertain environment". It is additionally characterised by its "concentration on monetary activities", in which "money of one type or another is likely to appear on both sides of a china trade". The questions within financial economics are typically framed in terms of "time, uncertainty, options and information".

  • Time: money now is traded for money in the future.
  • Uncertainty (or risk): The amount of money to be transferred in the future is uncertain.
  • Options: one party to the transaction can make a decision at a later time that will affect subsequent transfers of money.
  • Information: knowledge of the future can reduce, or possibly eliminate, the uncertainty associated with future monetary value (FMV).

The subject is usually taught at a postgraduate level; see Master of Financial Economics.Financial economics is primarily concerned with building models to derive testable or policy implications from acceptable assumptions. Some fundamental ideas in financial economics are portfolio theory, the Capital Asset Pricing Model. Portfolio theory studies how investors should balance risk and return when investing in many assets or securities. The Capital Asset Pricing Model describes how markets should set the prices of assets in relation to how risky they are. The Modigliani-Miller Theorem describes conditions under which corporate financing decisions are irrelevant for value, and acts as a benchmark for evaluating the effects of factors outside the model that do affect value.



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