Stare down the barrel and center the crosshairs: Targeting the ex ante equity premium
AbstractThe equity premium of interest in theoretical models is the extra return investors anticipate when purchasing risky stock instead of risk-free debt. Unfortunately, we do not observe this ex ante premium in the data; we only observe the returns that investors actually receive ex post, after they purchase the stock and hold it over some period of time during which random economic shocks affect prices. Over the past century U.S. stocks have returned roughly 6 percent more than risk-free debt, which is higher than warranted by standard economic theory; hence the "equity premium puzzle." In this paper we devise a method to simulate the distribution from which ex post equity premia are drawn, conditional on various assumptions about investors' ex ante equity premium. Comparing statistics that arise from our simulations with key financial characteristics of the U.S. economy, including dividend yields, Sharpe ratios, and interest rates, suggests a much narrower range of plausible equity premia than has been supported to date. Our results imply that the true ex ante equity premium likely lies very close to 4 percent.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2003-4.
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-05-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-FIN-2003-05-08 (Finance)
- NEP-FMK-2003-05-08 (Financial Markets)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
- Merton, Robert C., 1980.
"On estimating the expected return on the market : An exploratory investigation,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 323-361, December.
- Robert C. Merton, 1980. "On Estimating the Expected Return on the Market: An Exploratory Investigation," NBER Working Papers 0444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eugene Fama & F. & Kenneth R. French, .
"The Equity Premium.","
CRSP working papers
522, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- Orcutt, Guy H & Winokur, Herbert S, Jr, 1969. "First Order Autoregression: Inference, Estimation, and Prediction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(1), pages 1-14, January.
- Philippe Weil, 1989.
"The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Riskfree Rate Puzzle,"
NBER Working Papers
2829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
- Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
- Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996.
"The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
- Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1995. "The equity premium: it's still a puzzle," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Kocherlakota, N., 1995. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Working Papers 95-05, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
- West, Kenneth D, 1988.
"Dividend Innovations and Stock Price Volatility,"
Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 37-61, January.
- Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R, 1995.
" Time-Varying World Market Integration,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 403-44, June.
- Campbell, John Y, 1991.
"A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-79, March.
- James Claus, 2001. "Equity Premia as Low as Three Percent? Evidence from Analysts' Earnings Forecasts for Domestic and International Stock Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1629-1666, October.
- Ravi Jagannathan & Ellen R. McGrattan & Anna Scherbina, 2001.
"The Declining U.S. Equity Premium,"
NBER Working Papers
8172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
- Kenneth D. West, 1989.
"Bubbles, Fads, and Stock Price Volatility Tests: A Partial Evaluation,"
NBER Working Papers
2574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- West, Kenneth D, 1988. " Bubbles, Fads and Stock Price Volatility Tests: A Partial Evaluation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 639-56, July.
- Jeremy J. Siegel & Richard H. Thaler, 1997. "Anomalies: The Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 191-200, Winter.
- Philippe Jorion & William N. Goetzmann, 1999. "Global Stock Markets in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 953-980, 06.
- 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.
- Tom Doan, . "OLSHODRICK: RATS procedure to compute Hodrick standard errors," Statistical Software Components RTS00147, Boston College Department of Economics.
- R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010.
"The equity premium: a puzzle,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1401, David K. Levine.
- Charles M. C. Lee & James Myers & Bhaskaran Swaminathan, 1999. "What is the Intrinsic Value of the Dow?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1693-1741, October.
- Gregory, Allan W & Smith, Gregor W, 1991. "Calibration as Testing: Inference in Simulated Macroeconomic Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(3), pages 297-303, July.
- Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The equity risk premium: A solution?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 133-136, July.
- Scott, Louis O, 1985. "The Present Value Model of Stock Prices: Regression Tests and Monte Carlo Results," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 599-605, November.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Diane Rosenberger).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.