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Asset Returns and Economic Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Dean Baker

    (Center for Economic and Policy Research)

  • J. Bradford Delong

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Paul R. Krugman

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

America is probably facing a slowdown in the rate of natural population increase and possibly a slowdown in productivity growth. We argue that, if these two factors depress the rate of future economic growth, one cannot assume that the past performance of asset returns is indicative of future results. Simple standard closed-economy growth models predict that a growth slowdown will likely lower the marginal product of capital and thus the long-run rate of return. Moreover, if current asset valuations represent rational expectations, simple arithmetic shows that it is almost impossible for past rates of return to continue through a growth slowdown. In standard models at least, only a large shift in the income distribution toward capital, or future current account surpluses that are larger and more persistent than those that nineteenth-century Britain sustained for generations, give promise for reconciling a future slowdown with a continuation of historical asset returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Baker & J. Bradford Delong & Paul R. Krugman, 2005. "Asset Returns and Economic Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(1), pages 289-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:36:y:2005:i:2005-1:p:289-330
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1989. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
    3. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-676, July.
    4. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    5. Robert J. Shiller, 2005. "The Life-Cycle Personal Accounts Proposal for Social Security: A Review," NBER Working Papers 11300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Robert J. Gordon, 2003. "Exploding Productivity Growth: Context, Causes, and Implications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 207-298.
    7. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
    8. Rajnish Mehra, 2003. "The Equity Premium: Why is it a Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 9512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Robert Shiller, 2005. "The Life-Cycle Personal Accounts Proposal for Social Security: An Evaluation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2535, Yale School of Management.
    10. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Louise M. Sheiner & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "An Aging Society: Opportunity or Challenge?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 1-74.
    11. repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bezemer, Dirk J., 2010. "Understanding financial crisis through accounting models," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 676-688, October.
    2. Andrew Sharpe, 2006. "Future Productivity Growth in Canada and Implications for the Canada Pension Plan," CSLS Research Reports 2006-01, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Alan Guoming Huang & Eric Hughson & J. Chris Leach, 2016. "Generational Asset Pricing, Equity Puzzles, and Cyclicality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 22, pages 52-71, October.
    4. Rhys R. Mendes, 2014. "The Neutral Rate of Interest in Canada," Discussion Papers 14-5, Bank of Canada.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    macroeconomics; Asset Returns; Economic Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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