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The Dog That Did Not Bark: A Defense of Return Predictability

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  • John H. Cochrane

Abstract

If returns are not predictable, dividend growth must be predictable, to generate the observed variation in divided yields. I find that the absence of dividend growth predictability gives stronger evidence than does the presence of return predictability. Long-horizon return forecasts give the same strong evidence. These tests exploit the negative correlation of return forecasts with dividend-yield autocorrelation across samples, together with sensible upper bounds on dividend-yield autocorrelation, to deliver more powerful statistics. I reconcile my findings with the literature that finds poor power in long-horizon return forecasts, and with the literature that notes the poor out-of-sample R-super-2 of return-forecasting regressions. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 21 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 1533-1575

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:21:y:2008:i:4:p:1533-1575

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  1. Goetzmann, William Nelson & Jorion, Philippe, 1993. " Testing the Predictive Power of Dividend Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 663-79, June.
  2. Valkanov, Rossen, 2003. "Long-horizon regressions: theoretical results and applications," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 201-232, May.
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  4. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
  5. Cochrane, John H, 1992. "Explaining the Variance of Price-Dividend Ratios," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 243-80.
  6. Donald B. Keim & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Predicting Returns in the Stock and Bond Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  7. Robert J. Shiller, 1984. "Stock Prices and Social Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 15(2), pages 457-510.
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  10. Robert J. Shiller, 1984. "Stock Prices and Social Dynamics," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 719R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  11. Campbell, John Y., 2001. "Why long horizons? A study of power against persistent alternatives," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(5), pages 459-491, December.
  12. Amit Goyal & Ivo Welch, 1999. "Predicting the Equity Premium with Dividend Ratios," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2437, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Nov 2002.
  13. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
  14. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
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  16. Walter Torous & Rossen Valkanov & Shu Yan, 2004. "On Predicting Stock Returns with Nearly Integrated Explanatory Variables," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 937-966, October.
  17. Campbell, John & Yogo, Motohiro, 2006. "Efficient tests of stock return predictability," Scholarly Articles 3122601, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Nelson, Charles R & Kim, Myung J, 1993. " Predictable Stock Returns: The Role of Small Sample Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 641-61, June.
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  22. Cochrane, John H., 1991. "Volatility tests and efficient markets : A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 463-485, June.
  23. Lewellen, Jonathan, 2004. "Predicting returns with financial ratios," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 209-235, November.
  24. Kothari, S. P. & Shanken, Jay, 1997. "Book-to-market, dividend yield, and expected market returns: A time-series analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 169-203, May.
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  26. Jacob Boudoukh & Roni Michaely & Matthew Richardson & Michael R. Roberts, 2007. "On the Importance of Measuring Payout Yield: Implications for Empirical Asset Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 877-915, 04.
  27. Pontiff, Jeffrey & Schall, Lawrence D., 1998. "Book-to-market ratios as predictors of market returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 141-160, August.
  28. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1985. "Do We Reject Too Often? Small Sample Properties of Tests of Rational Expectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
  30. Craine, Roger, 1993. "Rational bubbles : A test," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 829-846.
  31. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
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