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The declining U.S. equity premium

  • Ravi Jagannathan
  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Anna Scherbina.

This study demonstrates that the U.S. equity premium has declined significantly during the last three decades. The study calculates the equity premium using a variation of a formula in the classic Gordon stock valuation model. The calculation includes the bond yield, the stock dividend yield, and the expected dividend growth rate, which in this formulation can change over time. The study calculates the premium for several measures of the aggregate U.S. stock portfolio and several assumptions about bond yields and stock dividends and gets basically the same result. The premium averaged about 7 percentage points during 1926–70 and only about 0.7 of a percentage point after that. This result is shown to be reasonable by demonstrating the roughly equal returns that investments in stocks and consol bonds of the same duration would have earned between 1982 and 1999, years when the equity premium is estimated to have been zero.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (2000)
Issue (Month): Fall ()
Pages: 3-19

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2000:i:fall:p:3-19:n:v.24no.4
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  1. John H Cochrane, 2003. "Where is the Market Going: Uncertain Facts and Novel Theories," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000762, David K. Levine.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," NBER Working Papers 2100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of security market data for models of dynamic economies," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 29, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1995. "The equity premium: it's still a puzzle," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Merton, Robert C., 1987. "A simple model of capital market equilibrium with incomplete information," Working papers 1869-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  6. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  7. Welch, Ivo, 2000. "Views of Financial Economists on the Equity Premium and on Professional Controversies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 501-37, October.
  8. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
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