IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9512.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Equity Premium: Why is it a Puzzle?

Author

Listed:
  • Rajnish Mehra

Abstract

This article takes a critical look at the equity premium puzzle the inability of standard intertemporal economic models to rationalize the statistics that have characterized U.S. financial markets over the past century. A summary of historical returns for the United States and other industrialized countries and an overview of the economic construct itself are provided. The intuition behind the discrepancy between model prediction and empirical data is explained. After detailing the research efforts to enhance the model's ability to replicate the empirical data, I argue that the proposed resolutions fail along crucial dimensions

Suggested Citation

  • Rajnish Mehra, 2003. "The Equity Premium: Why is it a Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 9512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9512
    Note: AP
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9512.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    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. Constantinides, George M & Duffie, Darrell, 1996. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 219-240, April.
    3. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Donaldson, John B., 2014. "Intermediate Financial Theory," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 3, number 9780123865496, December.
    4. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
    5. Abel, Andrew B, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 38-42, May.
    6. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Gertler, Mark, 1991. "Asset returns with transactions costs and uninsured individual risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 311-331, June.
    7. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
    8. Abel, Andrew B., 1988. "Stock prices under time-varying dividend risk : An exact solution in an infinite-horizon general equilibrium model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 375-393.
    9. George M. Constantinides & John B. Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 2002. "Junior Can't Borrow: A New Perspective on the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 269-296.
    10. 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.
    11. Bansal, Ravi & Coleman, Wilbur John, II, 1996. "A Monetary Explanation of the Equity Premium, Term Premium, and Risk-Free Rate Puzzles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1135-1171, December.
    12. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
    13. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
    14. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1986. "The equity premium and the concentration of aggregate shocks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 211-219, September.
    15. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
    16. Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1991. "Asset returns and intertemporal preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 39-71, February.
    17. Edward C. Prescott & Rajnish Mehra, 2005. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case Of Homogeneous Households," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Sudipto Bhattacharya & George M Constantinides (ed.), Theory Of Valuation, chapter 11, pages 357-371, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    18. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 2003. "The equity premium in retrospect," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 889-938, Elsevier.
    19. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah J, 1996. "Evaluating the Effects of Incomplete Markets on Risk Sharing and Asset Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 443-487, June.
    20. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-543, June.
    21. Breeden, Douglas T., 1979. "An intertemporal asset pricing model with stochastic consumption and investment opportunities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-296, September.
    22. John B. Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 1984. "Comparative Dynamics of an Equilibrium Intertemporal Asset Pricing Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 491-508.
    23. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-1445, November.
    24. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2001. "Taxes, Regulations, and Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Aiyagari, S. Rao & Gertler, Mark, 1991. "Asset returns with transactions costs and uninsured individual risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 311-331, June.
    26. Campbell, John Y., 2003. "Consumption-based asset pricing," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 803-887, Elsevier.
    27. George M. Constantinides, 2002. "Rational Asset Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1567-1591, August.
    28. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The equity risk premium: A solution?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 133-136, July.
    29. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 76-101, January.
    30. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory and Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53.
    31. 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.
    32. LeRoy,Stephen F. & Werner,Jan, 2014. "Principles of Financial Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107024120, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. George M. Constantinides, 2006. "Market Organization And The Prices Of Financial Assets," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(s1), pages 1-23, September.
    2. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 2003. "The equity premium in retrospect," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 889-938, Elsevier.
    3. George M. Constantinides, 2002. "Rational Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Alon Brav & George M. Constantinides & Christopher C. Geczy, 2002. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and Limited Participation: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 793-824, August.
    5. John Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 2007. "Risk Based Explanations of the Equity Premium," NBER Working Papers 13220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kim, Yun-Yeong, 2021. "Composite-asset-risk approach to solving the equity premium puzzle," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 200-216.
    7. Kris Jacobs, 2002. "The Rate of Risk Aversion May Be Lower Than You Think," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-08, CIRANO.
    8. Fernandez, Pablo & Aguirreamalloa, Javier & Liechtenstein, Heinrich, 2009. "The equity premium puzzle: High required equity premium, undervaluation and self fulfilling prophecy," IESE Research Papers D/821, IESE Business School.
    9. Campbell, John Y., 2003. "Consumption-based asset pricing," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 803-887, Elsevier.
    10. Sialm, Clemens, 2006. "Stochastic taxation and asset pricing in dynamic general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 511-540, March.
    11. Andrei Semenov, 2003. "High-Order Consumption Moments and Asset Pricing," Working Papers 2003_4, York University, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
    12. John Y. Campbell, 2000. "Asset Pricing at the Millennium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1515-1567, August.
    13. Cochrane, John H., 2005. "Financial Markets and the Real Economy," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 1-101, July.
    14. YiLi Chien & Hanno Lustig, 2010. "The Market Price of Aggregate Risk and the Wealth Distribution," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1596-1650, April.
    15. Jacobs, Kris & Pallage, Stéphane & Robe, Michel A., 2013. "Market incompleteness and the equity premium puzzle: Evidence from state-level data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 378-388.
    16. Guidolin, Massimo, 2006. "Pessimistic beliefs under rational learning: Quantitative implications for the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 85-118.
    17. Rubens Penha Cysne, 2005. "Equity-Premium Puzzle: Evidence From Brazilian Data," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 088, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    18. Li, Minqiang, 2010. "Asset Pricing - A Brief Review," MPRA Paper 22379, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Krueger, Dirk & Lustig, Hanno, 2010. "When is market incompleteness irrelevant for the price of aggregate risk (and when is it not)?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 1-41, January.
    20. Rieger, Marc Oliver & Wang, Mei, 2012. "Can ambiguity aversion solve the equity premium puzzle? Survey evidence from international data," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 63-72.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9512. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.