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Toward an Implied Cost of Capital


  • William R. Gebhardt
  • Charles M. C. Lee
  • Bhaskaran Swaminathan


In this study, we propose an alternative technique for estimating the cost of equity capital. Specifically, we use a discounted residual income model to generate a market implied cost‐of‐capital. We then examine firm characteristics that are systematically related to this estimate of cost‐of‐capital. We show that a firm's implied cost‐of‐capital is a function of its industry membership, B/M ratio, forecasted long‐term growth rate, and the dispersion in analyst earnings forecasts. Together, these variables explain around 60% of the cross‐sectional variation in future (two‐year‐ahead) implied costs‐of‐capital. The stability of these long‐term relations suggests they can be exploited to estimate future costs‐of‐capital. We discuss the implications of these findings for capital budgeting, investment decisions, and valuation research.

Suggested Citation

  • William R. Gebhardt & Charles M. C. Lee & Bhaskaran Swaminathan, 2001. "Toward an Implied Cost of Capital," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 135-176, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:39:y:2001:i:1:p:135-176
    DOI: 10.1111/1475-679X.00007

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