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The Equity Risk Premium: A Contextual Literature Review

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Overview

Research into the equity risk premium, often considered the most important number in finance, falls into three broad groupings. First, researchers have measured the margin by which equity total returns have exceeded fixed-income or cash returns over long historical periods and have projected this measure of the equity risk premium into the future. Second, the dividend discount model—or a variant of it, such as an earnings discount model—is used to estimate the future return on an equity index, and the fixed-income or cash yield is then subtracted to arrive at an equity risk premium expectation or forecast. Third, academics have used macroeconomic techniques to estimate what premium investors might rationally require for taking the risk of equities. Current thinking emphasizes the second, or dividend discount, approach and projects an equity risk premium centered on 3½% to 4%.

About the Author

Laurence Siegel
Laurence B. Siegel

Laurence B. Siegel is the Gary P. Brinson Director of Research at CFA Institute Research Foundation and an independent consultant. He has authored, edited, or co-edited six CFA Institute Research Foundation monographs and is currently writing a new book, Fewer, Richer, Greener, to be published by Wiley in 2019. Mr. Siegel serves on the editorial boards of several prominent journals and on the board of directors of the Q Group and the American Business History Center. He has assisted a variety of nonprofit organizations in the role of investment committee chair or member. Previously, Mr. Siegel was director of research in the Investment Division of the Ford Foundation. Before that, he served as a managing director at Ibbotson Associates (now Morningstar). His website is www.larrysiegel.org. Mr. Siegel received a BA in urban geography and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago.

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Economics

Book Information

Published by CFA Institute Research Foundation

30 pages

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