Average Debt and Equity Returns: Puzzling?
Mehra and Prescott (1985) found the difference between average equity and debt returns puzzling because it was too large to be a premium for bearing nondiversifiable aggregate risk. Here, we re-examine this puzzle, taking into account some factors ignored by Mehra and Prescott-taxes, regulatory constraints, and diversification costs-and focusing on long-term rather than short-term savings instruments. Accounting for these factors, we find the difference between average equity and debt returns during peacetime in the last century is less than 1 percent, with the average real equity return somewhat under 5 percent, and the average real debt return almost 4 percent. As theory predicts, the real return on debt has been close to the 4 percent average after-tax real return on capital. Similarly, as theory predicts, the real return on equity is equal to the after-tax real return on capital plus a modest premium for bearing nondiversifiable aggregate risk.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
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.:
- Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985.
"The equity premium: A puzzle,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
- R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
- 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 222-227, May.
- S. Grossman & R. Shiller, "undated". "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Price," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 18-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Sanford J. Grossman & Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," NBER Working Papers 0564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 767-796.
- Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000715, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2005. "Taxes, regulations, and the value of U.S. and U.K. corporations," Staff Report 309, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- S. H. Nerlove, 1932. "Should Life Insurance Companies be Permitted to Buy Common Stocks?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5, pages 155-155.
- LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-574, May. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:506439000000000367. 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: (David K. Levine)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.