Accounting-Based Estimates of the Cost of Capital: A Third Way
69 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2016 Last revised: 6 Oct 2016
Date Written: September 1, 2016
This paper offers an approach for estimating the cost of capital from observed accounting information and compares the resulting estimates to so-called implied cost of capital (ICC) calculations and those from asset pricing models. The approach is based on two ideas. First, buying expected earnings growth is risky; thus, any variable that predicts expected earnings growth that is at risk of not being realized is potentially an indicator of the cost of capital. Second, accounting principles induce earnings growth that ties to risk; thus, an accounting number generated under these principles potentially indicates of the cost of capital. The paper combines such numbers into a cost-of-capital estimate. The estimates perform well in validation tests, in contrast to the alternatives that are the current standards.
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