The Term Structure of Implied Costs of Equity Capital

47 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2010 Last revised: 8 Aug 2011

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 29, 2011


We model and estimate the term structure of implied costs of equity capital (expected returns) and implied risk premia at the firm-level for the years 1996-2009 using data extracted from forward looking option contracts. Model-free estimation methods are employed to extract a term structure of expected cash flows and equity risks from the options data. The estimation procedures are chosen to capture skewness in implied volatilities across strike prices for each maturity and remove the potential variance premium bias that may be present in the risk neutral variances. We find that the term structures of implied costs of equity capital and implied risk premia are upward sloping and concave for most years and industries. Interestingly, we also find that the term structure of implied costs of equity capital (risk premia) are downward sloping for the crisis period 2008 (2008-2009). We further validate the term structure cost of capital estimates by reference to future stock returns. Cross-sectional and time-series asset pricing tests indicate that time varying implied costs of equity capital are positively and significantly associated with future stock returns. In contrast, more traditional cost of capital benchmarks are either not associated with future stock returns or the associations are less robust than the term structure estimates.

Keywords: Term Structure, Implied Costs of Equity, Cash Flow Risk

JEL Classification: M41, G30

Suggested Citation

Callen, Jeffrey L. and Lyle, Matthew R., The Term Structure of Implied Costs of Equity Capital (July 29, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Jeffrey L. Callen (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6
416-946-5641 (Phone)
416-971-3048 (Fax)

Matthew R. Lyle

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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