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A challenge to triumphant optimists? A blue chips index for the Paris Stock-Exchange (1854-2007)

  • David Le Bris

    ()

    (CRM - Centre de Recherche Roland Mousnier Histoire et Civilisation - Université Paris-Sorbonne - Paris IV - CNRS : UMR8596)

  • Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur

    ()

    (EHESS - Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique)

We analyze a new blue chips (large caps) stock index for France from 1854 to 1998. We detail its methodology and show that it differs profoundly from earlier indices, and that it is more consistent with the French financial and economic history. We suggest this result casts some doubt on many historical stock indices such as those gathered in Dimson, Marsh and Staunton' Triumph of the Optimists. We also provide some major results: investment in French stocks provided a positive real return during the 19th century, but a negative one – because of inflation and wars – in the 20th. Despite this century of negative real performance, stocks are still the best financial asset for the very long run but, with an equity premium lower than in the US.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00468209.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Publication status: Published, Financial History Review, 2010, 17, 2, 141-183
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00468209
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00468209/en/
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