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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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    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
    Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL
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    1. Campbell, J.Y. & Shiller, R.J., 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings And Expected Dividends," Papers 334, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
    2. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson & Jessica A. Wachter, 2004. "The Declining Equity Premium: What Role Does Macroeconomic Risk Play?," NBER Working Papers 10270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 2001. "Disappearing dividends: changing firm characteristics or lower propensity to pay?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 3-43, April.
    4. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 2002. "Expected Returns and Expected Dividend Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
    6. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2002. "The Equity Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 637-659, 04.
    7. John Y. Campbell, 1990. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," NBER Working Papers 3246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Rietz, Thomas A., 1988. "The equity risk premium a solution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 117-131, July.
    9. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    10. John B. Carlson & Eduard A. Pelz & Mark Wohar, 2001. "Will the valuation ratios revert to their historical means? Some evidence from breakpoint tests," Working Paper 0113, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    15. Fama, Eugene F, 1981. "Stock Returns, Real Activity, Inflation, and Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 545-65, September.
    16. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The equity risk premium: A solution?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 133-136, July.
    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. Cochrane, John H, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-65, February.
    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. 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.
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