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The Declining U.S. Equity Premium

  • Ravi Jagannathan
  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Anna Scherbina

This study demonstrates that the U.S. equity premium has declined significantly during the last three decades. The study calculates the equity premium using a variation of a formula in the classic Gordon stock valuation model. The calculation includes the bond yield, the stock dividend yield, and the expected dividend growth rate, which in this formulation can change over time. The study calculates the premium for several measures of the aggregate U.S. stock portfolio and several assumptions about bond yields and stock dividends and gets basically the same result. The premium averaged about 7 percentage points during 1926 70 and only about 0.7 of a percentage point after that. This result is shown to be reasonable by demonstrating the roughly equal returns that investments in stocks and consol bonds of the same duration would have earned between 1982 and 1999, years when the equity premium is estimated to have been zero.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8172.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8172.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Publication status: published as Ravi Jagannathan & Ellen R. McGrattan & Anna Scherbina., 2000. "The declining U.S. equity premium," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 3-19.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8172
Note: AP
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  1. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," NBER Technical Working Papers 0089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
  3. Ivo Welch, 2000. "Views of Financial Economists on the Equity Premium and on Professional Controversies," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm122, Yale School of Management.
  4. John H. Cochrane, 1998. "Where is the Market Going? Uncertain Facts and Novel Theories," NBER Working Papers 6207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
  6. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
  7. Merton, Robert C., 1987. "A simple model of capital market equilibrium with incomplete information," Working papers 1869-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  8. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
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