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The expected real return to equity

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  • Missaka Warusawitharana
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    Abstract

    The expected return to equity--typically measured as a historical average--is a key variable in the decision making of investors. A recent literature based on analysts forecasts and practitioner surveys finds estimates of expected returns that are sometimes much lower than historical averages. This study presents a novel method that estimates the expected return to equity using only observable data. The method builds on a present value relationship that links dividends, earnings, and investment to market values via expected returns. Given a model that captures this relationship, one can infer the expected return. Using this method, the estimated expected real return to equity ranges from 4 to 5.5 percent. Furthermore, the analysis indicates that expected returns have declined by about 2 percentage points over the past forty years. These results indicate that future returns to equity may be lower than past realized returns.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2011-14.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-14

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    Related research

    Keywords: Stock - Prices ; Forecasting ; Investments ; Securities;

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    2. Kim, Chang-Jin & Morley, James C. & Nelson, Charles R., 2005. "The Structural Break in the Equity Premium," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 23, pages 181-191, April.
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    8. Jessica A. Wachter & Missaka Warusawitharana, 2011. "What is the Chance that the Equity Premium Varies over Time? Evidence from Regressions on the Dividend-Price Ratio," NBER Working Papers 17334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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