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The Equity Premium: 100 Years of Empirical Evidence from the UK

  • Andrew Vivian
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    We examine the UK equity premium over more than a century using dividend growth to estimate expectations of capital gains employing the approach of Fama and French (2002). Over recent decades estimated equity premia implied by dividend growth have been much lower than that produced by average stock returns for the UK market as a whole; a finding corroborated by all economic sub-sectors. Our empirical analysis suggests this is primarily due to a declining discount rate, during the latter part of the 20th Century, which would rationally stimulate unanticipated equity price rises during this period. Thus, we conclude that historical stock returns over recent decades have been above investors’ expectations.

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    File URL: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_crieff/papers/dp0711.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm in its series CRIEFF Discussion Papers with number 0711.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:san:crieff:0711
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    School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL

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    1. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings and Expected Dividends," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 858, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Martin Lettau & Sydney Ludvigson & Jessica A. Wachter, 2005. "The declining equity premium: what role does macroeconomic risk play?," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
    4. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2002. "Expected Returns and Expected Dividend Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    7. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2001. "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(1), pages 67-79.
    8. Elroy Dimson & Paul Marsh & Mike Staunton, 2003. "Global Evidence On The Equity Risk Premium," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 15(4), pages 27-38.
    9. Banerjee, Anindya & Lumsdaine, Robin L & Stock, James H, 1992. "Recursive and Sequential Tests of the Unit-Root and Trend-Break Hypotheses: Theory and International Evidence," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 271-87, July.
    10. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The equity risk premium: A solution?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 133-136, July.
    11. Hodrick, Robert J, 1992. "Dividend Yields and Expected Stock Returns: Alternative Procedures for Inference and Measurement," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(3), pages 357-86.
    12. Fama, Eugene F, 1981. "Stock Returns, Real Activity, Inflation, and Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 545-65, September.
    13. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Campbell, John Y, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-79, March.
    15. John H. Cochrane, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-265.
    16. John B. Carlson & Eduard A. Pelz & Mark E. Wohar, 2001. "Will the valuation ratios revert to their historical means? Some evidence from breakpoint tests," Working Paper 0113, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    17. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
    18. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
    19. P. Raghavendra Rau & Theo Vermaelen, 2002. "Regulation, Taxes, and Share Repurchases in the United Kingdom," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(2), pages 245-282, April.
    20. Bansal, Ravi & Lundblad, Christian, 2002. "Market efficiency, asset returns, and the size of the risk premium in global equity markets," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 195-237, August.
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