We use a production-based asset pricing model to investigate whether financing constraints are quantitatively important for the cross-section of returns. Specifically, we use GMM to explore the stochastic Euler equation imposed on returns by optimal investment. Our methods can identify the impact of financial frictions on the stochastic discount factor with cyclical variations in cost of external funds. We find that financing frictions provide a common factor that improves the pricing of cross-sectional returns. Moreover, the shadow cost of external funds exhibits strong procyclical variation, so that financial frictions are more important in relatively good economic conditions. (JEL E22, E44, G12) Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.
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