William F. Sharpe

Professor Emeritus, Finance
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Research Statement

Professor Sharpe’s research interests focus on macro-investment analysis, equilibrium in capital markets and the provision of income in retirement.


William F. Sharpe is the STANCO 25 Professor of Finance, Emeritus, at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1970, having previously taught at the University of Washington and the University of California at Irvine. In 1996, he cofounded Financial Engines, a firm that provides online investment advice and management for individuals.

Sharpe was one of the originators of the Capital Asset Pricing Model, developed the Sharpe Ratio for investment performance analysis, the binomial method for the valuation of options, the gradient method for asset allocation optimization, and returns-based style analysis for evaluating the style and performance of investment funds.

Sharpe has published articles in a number of professional journals, including Management Science, The Journal of Business, The Journal of Finance, The Journal of Financial Economics, The Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, The Journal of Portfolio Management, and The Financial Analysts’ Journal.

He has also written seven books, including Portfolio Theory and Capital Markets (McGraw-Hill, 1970 and 2000), Asset Allocation Tools (Scientific Press, 1987), Fundamentals of Investments (with Gordon J. Alexander and Jeffrey Bailey, Prentice-Hall, 2000), Investments (with Gordon J. Alexander and Jeffrey Bailey, Prentice-Hall, 1999) and Investors and Markets, Portfolio Choices, Asset Prices and Investment Advice, Princeton University Press, 2007.

Sharpe is past president of the American Finance Association. In 1990 he received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

He received his PhD, MA and BA in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is also the recipient of a Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from DePaul University, a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Alicante (Spain), a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Vienna (Austria), and the UCLA Medal, UCLA’s highest honor.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Economics, UC Los Angeles, 1961
  • MA in Economics, UC Los Angeles, 1956
  • BA in Economics, UC Los Angeles, 1955

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1970, Emeritus since 1999
  • Professor, University of California, Irvine, 1968-1970
  • Associate Professor, University of Washington, 1961-1968

Professional Experience

  • Economist, RAND Corp., 1956-1961

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Jocobs Levy Prize for Quantative Financial Innovation, 2016
  • Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, The Nobel Foundation, 1990


Journal Articles

William F. Sharpe. Financial Analysts Journal. March 2013.
William F. Sharpe. Financial Analysts Journal. May 2010, Vol. 66, Issue 3, Pages 45-59.
Jason S. Scott, William F. Sharpe, John G. Watson. Journal of Investment Management. 2009, Vol. 7, Issue 3, Pages 31-48.
William F. Sharpe. Financial Analysts Journal. September 2007, Vol. 63, Issue 5, Pages 18-30.
William F. Sharpe. Financial Analysts Journal. July 1998, Vol. 54, Issue 4, Pages 21-33.
William F. Sharpe. The Financial Analysts' Journal. January 1991, Vol. 47, Issue 1, Pages 7-9.
William F. Sharpe. Financial Analysts Journal. November 1973, Vol. 29, Issue 6, Pages 74-80.
William F. Sharpe. Financial Analysts Journal. January 1972, Vol. 28, Issue 1, Pages 74-79.


William F. Sharpe Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
William F. Sharpe Prentice Hall, 1998.
William F. Sharpe Prentice Hall, 1993.
William F. Sharpe Scientific Press, April 1987.
William F. Sharpe Columbia University Press, June 1973.
William F. Sharpe McGraw-Hill, June 1970.

Working Papers

Nuclear Financial Economics | PDF
William F. Sharpe1993
Financial Implications of Divestment of South Africa-Related Stocks | PDF
Sanford J. Grossman, William F. Sharpe1986
Viable Allocations of Information in Financial Markets
Anat R. Admati, Paul Pfleiderer, William F. Sharpe1986
RatBAS -- A Software Tool for Users of BASIC | PDF
Brent D. Weaver, William F. Sharpe1982
Duration and Security Risk | PDF
William F. Sharpe, R. Lanstein1978
Efficient Capital Markets with Risk | PDF
William F. Sharpe1972

Service to the Profession

  • Chairman, Financial Engines, Inc
  • Past President, American Finance Association

In the Media

Knowledge at Wharton, May 10, 2016
Investors, Start Your Engines
Worth, January 2008
An Issue of Risk and Return
National Post, May 4, 2004
Betting on Trouble
Boston Globe, September 2003
New York Times, July 30, 2002
BusinessWeek, June 26, 2002
Seattle Times, June 2, 2002
Business Wire, November 30, 2001
Stanford Report, October 5, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle, April 9, 1999
Bloomberg Businessweek, August 20, 1998
New York Times, April 8, 1998
The Dawn of Online Financial Advice
San Jose Mercury News, January 1998
The Sharpe End of Economic Modeling
Financial Times, January 1990

Insights by Stanford Business

April 18, 2013
A Nobel Prize winner says preparing for retirement means keeping an eye on investment costs and not looking to the market for sympathy.
April 1, 2010
Research looks at how workers can be sure to save enough to retire.
October 1, 2009
Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe explains how futile it is to read sure-thing investing books or watch the latest financial guru to find easy answers.

School News

August 1, 2011
Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe has been honored with the Graham and Dodd Award of Excellence, which recognizes excellence in financial writing.
October 1, 1990
Sharpe named for his Capital Asset Pricing Model, an aid to making investment decisions.