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Are blue chip stock market indices good proxies for all-shares market indices? The case of the Brussels Stock Exchange 1833–2005


  • Annaert, Jan
  • Buelens, Frans
  • Cuyvers, Ludo
  • De Ceuster, Marc
  • Deloof, Marc
  • De Schepper, Ann


In this article, we calculate a market-weighted return index for the 20 largest stocks listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange over the period 1833–2005, based on a new, unique and high-quality database. We find that this index captures the most important stylised facts of the value-weighted return of all shares listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange in this period. Our results support the empirical practice of concentrating on just the largest stocks. The indices we construct are based on one of the longest Belgian time series available. The indices take into account the exact dividends, the timing of the dividend cash flows and all capital operations. We are therefore able to decompose total returns into capital gain returns and dividend returns, which is not possible with most historical return series. We show that, to construct a credible return index, it is crucial to fully take into account dividends.

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  • Annaert, Jan & Buelens, Frans & Cuyvers, Ludo & De Ceuster, Marc & Deloof, Marc & De Schepper, Ann, 2011. "Are blue chip stock market indices good proxies for all-shares market indices? The case of the Brussels Stock Exchange 1833–2005," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(03), pages 277-308, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:fihrev:v:18:y:2011:i:03:p:277-308_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "Monetary policy in deflation: the liquidity trap in history and practice," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 101-124, March.
    2. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2008. "Great Expectations and the End of the Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1476-1516, September.
    3. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Benjamin Pugsley, 2006. "The Mistake of 1937: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 24(S1), pages 151-190, December.
    4. Romer, Christina D., 1992. "What Ended the Great Depression?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 757-784, December.
    5. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jord�, �scar & Knoll, Katharina & Kuvshinov, Dmitry & Schularick, Moritz & Taylor, Alan M., 2017. "The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870-2015," CEPR Discussion Papers 12509, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Prat, Georges, 2013. "Equity risk premium and time horizon: What do the U.S. secular data say?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 76-88.
    3. Raphael Hekimian & David Le Bris, 2016. "US Crashes of 2008 and 1929 How did the French market react? An empirical study," EconomiX Working Papers 2016-21, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    4. Annaert, Jan & Mensah, Lord, 2014. "Cross-sectional predictability of stock returns, evidence from the 19th century Brussels Stock Exchange (1873–1914)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 22-43.

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