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Dynamics of corporate earnings

  • Robert E. Hall

Earnings are the flow of value created by corporations. I concentrate on the concept called EBITDA-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This measure captures the results of the substantive non-financial activities of corporations and corresponds to the rental price of capital multiplied by the quantity of capital. I measure earnings per dollar of capital for all U.S. corporations and at the level of 35 U.S. industries. I develop a competitive benchmark for the level of earnings, which takes account of adjustment costs, taxes, depreciation, and the financial opportunity cost of funds. I find that aggregate corporate earnings track the benchmark reasonably closely, leaving a relatively small unexplained component. Thus evidence of the flow of value gives little help in explaining the large discrepancies found in earlier work in the level of the market value of claims on corporations relative to the replacement cost of the capital stock. However, at the industry level, I find substantial volatility of the unexplained component of earnings.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Mar ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2003:i:mar
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  1. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," NBER Technical Working Papers 0089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1996. " Multifactor Explanations of Asset Pricing Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 55-84, March.
  3. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  4. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1995. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," NBER Working Papers 4995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chapman, D.A., 1996. "Approximating the Asset Pricing Kernel," Papers 96-02, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
  6. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-27, May.
  7. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
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