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MIRR: A better measure


  • Kierulff, Herbert


Over the past 60 years Net Present Value (NPV) and the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) have emerged from obscurity to become the overwhelming choices for the quantitative measurement of investment attractiveness in modern corporations. Despite their current popularity, neither NPV nor IRR was designed to deal effectively with the vast majority of investment problems, meaning those where periodic free cash flows are generated between the time of asset purchase and the time of sale. NPV assumes that periodic cash flows can and will be reinvested at the NPV discount rate, either at the cost of capital or another risk adjusted discount rate; IRR assumes reinvestment at the IRR. Neither assumption is usually realistic. In addition, when evaluating projects in terms of their financial attractiveness, the two measures may rank projects differently. This becomes important when capital budgets are limited. Finally, a project may have several IRRs if cash flows go from negative to positive more than once. The Modified Internal Rate of Return (MIRR), discovered in the 18th century, does account for these cash flows. This article explains the problems with NPV and IRR, describes how MIRR works, and demonstrates how MIRR deals with weaknesses in NPV and IRR.

Suggested Citation

  • Kierulff, Herbert, 2008. "MIRR: A better measure," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 321-329.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:51:y:2008:i:4:p:321-329

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James H. Lorie & Leonard J. Savage, 1955. "Three Problems in Rationing Capital," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28, pages 229-229.
    2. Yuri Biondi, 2006. "The double emergence of the Modified Internal Rate of Return: The neglected financial work of Duvillard (1755 - 1832) in a comparative perspective," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 311-335.
    3. Harold Bierman & Seymour Smidt, 1957. "Capital Budgeting and the Problem of Reinvesting Cash Proceeds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30, pages 276-276.
    4. McDaniel, William R & McCarty, Daniel E & Jessell, Kenneth A, 1988. "Discounted Cash Flow with Explicit Reinvestment Rates: Tutorial and Extension," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 23(3), pages 369-385, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cuthbert, James R. & Magni, Carlo Alberto, 2016. "Measuring the inadequacy of IRR in PFI schemes using profitability index and AIRR," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 130-140.
    2. Simone N. Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2010. "Risk-return trade-offs to different educational paths: vocational, academic and mixed," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(5), pages 495-519, August.
    3. Kerchner, Charles D. & Keeton, William S., 2015. "California's regulatory forest carbon market: Viability for northeast landowners," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 70-81.
    4. Magni, Carlo Alberto, 2016. "Capital depreciation and the underdetermination of rate of return: A unifying perspective," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 54-79.
    5. Arnold, Uwe & Yildiz, Özgür, 2015. "Economic risk analysis of decentralized renewable energy infrastructures – A Monte Carlo Simulation approach," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 227-239.
    6. Dalton, Gordon & Allan, Grant & Beaumont, Nicola & Georgakaki, Aliki & Hacking, Nick & Hooper, Tara & Kerr, Sandy & O’Hagan, Anne Marie & Reilly, Kieran & Ricci, Pierpaolo & Sheng, Wanan & Stallard, T, 2015. "Economic and socio-economic assessment methods for ocean renewable energy: Public and private perspectives," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 850-878.
    7. Chen, Hui & Venditti, Richard & Gonzalez, Ronalds & Phillips, Richard & Jameel, Hasan & Park, Sunkyu, 2014. "Economic evaluation of the conversion of industrial paper sludge to ethanol," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 281-290.
    8. Carlo Alberto Magni, 2009. "Accounting and economic measures:An integrated theory of capital budgeting," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 0019, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    9. Mária Illés, 2012. "Transforming the Net Present Value for a Comparable One," Theory Methodology Practice (TMP), Faculty of Economics, University of Miskolc, vol. 8(01), pages 24-32.
    10. Suzette Viviers & Howard Cohen, 2011. "Perspectives on capital budgeting in the South African motor manufacturing industry," Meditari Accountancy Research, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 75-93, October.
    11. Carlo Alberto Magni, 2010. "Average Internal Rate of Return and investment decisions: A new perspective," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 0021, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    12. repec:eee:quaeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:108-114 is not listed on IDEAS

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