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The Declining U.S. Equity Premium

Author

Listed:
  • Ravi Jagannathan
  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Anna Scherbina

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravi Jagannathan & Ellen R. McGrattan & Anna Scherbina, 2001. "The Declining U.S. Equity Premium," NBER Working Papers 8172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8172 Note: AP
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. John H. Cochrane, 1997. "Where is the market going? Uncertain facts and novel theories," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 3-37.
    3. 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.
    4. Hansen, Lars Peter & Jagannathan, Ravi, 1991. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 225-262, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Welch, Ivo, 2000. "Views of Financial Economists on the Equity Premium and on Professional Controversies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 501-537, October.
    7. Merton, Robert C, 1987. " A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 483-510, July.
    8. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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