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.
|Date of creation:||2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings (Vol. 93, No. 2, May 2003, pp. 392-397)|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 90 Hennepin Avenue, P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291|
Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/|
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- S. Grossman & R. Shiller, . "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.
- 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.
- R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010.
"The equity premium: a puzzle,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1401, David K. Levine.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:313. 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: (Jannelle Ruswick)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.