The Term Structure of Capital Values: An Accounting-Based Framework for Measuring Economic Profitability
31 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 5, 2015
This paper shows how the outputs of the accounting measurement process can be translated into terms that can be used in economic decisions. We introduce the notion of Term Structure of Capital Values (TSCV), uniquely associated to a Term Structure of Interest Rates (TSIR). We show that the state of temporary disequilibrium created by an asset (project, firm, etc.) introduced in a market can be described in terms of a pair of internal TSCV and TSIR. Any internal TSCV determines a specific depreciation schedule for the asset and the corresponding TSIR determines an economic rate of return obtained as a capital-weighted average of the Return On Assets collected in the TSIR. The difference between this economic rate of return and the overall equilibrium rate (itself an average of the equilibrium forward rates) correctly captures value creation. The determination of a specific (internal) TSCV depends on the way the market sweeps away arbitrage opportunities and restores the equilibrium. As each possible accounting system can be viewed as being associated with a corresponding disequilibrium-to-equilibrium process and therefore with a corresponding economic rate of return, the paper shows that the determination of an economic rate of return is both a matter of accounting (in terms of a specific internal TSCV) and a matter of finance (in terms of a specific disequilibrium-to-equilibrium process). This evidently calls for a theory of capital valuation capable of associating the proper TSCV with each asset so that the intrinsic underdetermination of the economic rate of return can be solved.
Keywords: Average ROA, value creation, disequilibrium, term structure
JEL Classification: M41, G31, G11, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation