The Equity Risk Premium in 2015

21 Pages Posted: 30 May 2015 Last revised: 4 Dec 2015

John R. Graham

Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Campbell R. Harvey

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: October 1, 2015

Abstract

We analyze the history of the equity risk premium from surveys of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) conducted every quarter from June 2000 to March 2015. The risk premium is the expected 10-year S&P 500 return relative to a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield. We show that the equity risk premium has increased more than 50 basis points from the levels observed in 2014. The current 10-year risk premium is 4.51%. Similarly, measures of risk such as investor disagreement and perceptions of volatility have increased. Interestingly, the increased premium and risk are not reflected in market-based measures of risk, such as the VIX and credit spreads. We also link our survey results to measures survey-based measures of the weighted average cost of capital and investment hurdle rates. The hurdle rates are significantly higher than the cost of capital implied by the market risk premium.

Keywords: Cost of capital, financial crisis, equity premium, WACC, hurdle rate, long-term market returns, stock return forecasts, long-term equity returns, expected excess returns, disagreement, individual uncertainty, skewness, asymmetry, survey methods, TIPs, VIX, credit spreads

JEL Classification: G11, G31, G12, G14

Suggested Citation

Graham, John R. and Harvey, Campbell R., The Equity Risk Premium in 2015 (October 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2611793 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2611793

John Robert Graham

Duke University ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7857 (Phone)
919-660-8030 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Campbell R. Harvey (Contact Author)

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7768 (Phone)
919-660-8030 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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