The real versus the financial economy: A global tale of stability versus volatility
The question how the real and the financial side of a capitalist economy relate to each other has been a frequently recurring topic in the history of economic thought. Our paper addresses this question from the viewpoint that capital ultimately seeks returns from its perpetual reallocation and essentially faces two choices: it can either be entrepreneurially allocated to real economic activity, or it can be financially invested in legal claims against such activity. Adopting such a perspective, we study here how real and financial returns relate to each other over the past fifteen years, both within and across countries, by considering more than 30,000 publicly traded firms in more than forty countries that stand for 70% of the global population and about 90% of world income. We compare the average rates of return to both types of investment and their respective volatilities. While average returns, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, turn out to be roughly equal across the two domains, the volatility of financial returns exceeds real volatility by an order of magnitude. From a systemic point of view, these findings raise the question why capital would seek out financial investments in the first place.
Volume (Year): 8 (2014)
Issue (Month): ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Kiellinie 66, D-24105 Kiel|
Phone: +49 431 8814-1
Fax: +49 431 8814528
Web page: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mueller, Dennis C, 1977. "The Persistence of Profits above the Norm," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(176), pages 369-80, November.
- Shiller, Robert J, 1981.
"Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-36, June.
- Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Irle, Albrecht & Milaković, Mishael & Alfarano, Simone & Kauschke, Jonas, 2008.
"A Statistical Equilibrium Model of Competitive Firms,"
Economics Working Papers
2008,10, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
- Alfarano, Simone & Milaković, Mishael & Irle, Albrecht & Kauschke, Jonas, 2012. "A statistical equilibrium model of competitive firms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 136-149.
- Burgstahler, David & Dichev, Ilia, 1997. "Earnings management to avoid earnings decreases and losses," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 99-126, December.
- Einar Erlingsson & Simone Alfarano & Marco Raberto & Hlynur Stefánsson, 2013.
"On the distributional properties of size, profit and growth of Icelandic firms,"
Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination,
Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 8(1), pages 57-74, April.
- Erlingsson, Einar Jón & Alfarano, Simone & Raberto, Marco & Stefánsson, Hlynur, 2012. "On the distributional properties of size, pro fit and growth of Icelandic firms," MPRA Paper 35857, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Einar Jón Erlingsson & Simone Alfarano & Marco Raberto & Hlynur Stefánssonn, 2012. "On the distributional properties of size, profit and growth of Icelandic firms," Working Papers 2012/01, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
- Foley Duncan K., 1994. "A Statistical Equilibrium Theory of Markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 321-345, April.
- R. Cont, 2001. "Empirical properties of asset returns: stylized facts and statistical issues," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 223-236.
- Jesús Crespo-Cuaresma & Adelina Gschwandtner, 2003.
"The competitive environment hypothesis revisited: Nonlinearity, nonstationrity and profit persistence,"
Vienna Economics Papers
0316, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
- Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Adelina Gschwandtner, 2006. "The competitive environment hypothesis revisited: non-linearity, nonstationarity and profit persistence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 465-472.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2005.
"The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations,"
2005 Meeting Papers
470, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Alfarano, Simone & Milakovic, Mishael, 2008.
"Does classical competition explain the statistical features of firm growth?,"
Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 272-274, December.
- Alfarano, Simone & Milaković, Mishael, 2008. "Does Classical Competition Explain the Statistical Features of Firm Growth?," Economics Working Papers 2008,03, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
- Giuseppe Ciccarone, 2004. "Finance and the Cambridge equation," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 163-177.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
- LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-74, May.
- Merton H. Miller & Franco Modigliani, 1961. "Dividend Policy, Growth, and the Valuation of Shares," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34, pages 411.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1991. " Efficient Capital Markets: II," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1575-617, December.
- Naples, Michele I & Aslanbeigui, Nahid, 1996. "What Does Determine the Profit Rate? The Neoclassical Theories Presented in Introductory Textbooks," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 53-71, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201417. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.