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Time-Varying Risk Premia and the Cost of Capital: An Alternative Implication of the Q Theory of Investment

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  • Lettau, Martin
  • Ludvigson, Sydney

Abstract

Evidence suggests that expected excess stock market returns vary over time, and that this variation is much larger than that of expected real interest rates. It follows that a large fraction of the movement in the cost of capital in standard investment models must be attributable to movements in equity risk premia. In this Paper we emphasise that such movements in equity risk premia should have implications not merely for investment today, but also for future investment over long horizons. In this case, predictive variables for excess stock returns over long-horizons are also likely to forecast long-horizon fluctuations in the growth of marginal Q, and therefore investment. We test this implication directly by performing long-horizon forecasting regressions of aggregate investment growth using a variety of predictive variables shown elsewhere to have forecasting power for excess stock market returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2001. "Time-Varying Risk Premia and the Cost of Capital: An Alternative Implication of the Q Theory of Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3103, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2001. "Understanding Trend and Cycle in Asset Values: Bulls, Bears and the Wealth Effect on Consumption," CEPR Discussion Papers 3104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment; Q-Theory; risk premia;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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