Shiller's CAPE: Market Efficiency and Risk

32 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2016 Last revised: 18 Apr 2017

Valentin Dimitrov

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Accounting & Information Systems

Prem C. Jain

Georgetown University - Department of Accounting and Business Law

Date Written: February 7, 2017

Abstract

Robert Shiller shows that Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings Ratio (CAPE) is strongly associated with future long-term stock returns. This result has often been interpreted as evidence of market inefficiency. We present two findings that are contrary to such an interpretation. First, if markets are efficient, returns on average, even when conditional on CAPE, should be higher than the risk-free rate. We find that even when CAPE is in its ninth decile, future 10-year stock returns, on average, are higher than future returns on 10-year U.S. Treasurys. Thus, the results are largely consistent with market efficiency. Only when CAPE is very high, say, CAPE is in the upper half of the tenth decile (CAPE higher than 27.6), future 10-year stock returns, on average, are lower than those on 10-year U.S. Treasurys. Second, we provide a risk-based explanation for the association between CAPE and future stock returns. We find that CAPE and future stock returns are positively associated with future stock market volatility. Overall, (i) CAPE levels do not seem to reflect market inefficiency, and (ii) CAPE levels reflect risk (volatility).

Keywords: CAPE, Stock Market Returns, Returns, Risk Premium, Market Efficiency, Volatility

JEL Classification: G00, G02, G11, G12, G14

Suggested Citation

Dimitrov, Valentin and Jain, Prem C., Shiller's CAPE: Market Efficiency and Risk (February 7, 2017). Georgetown McDonough School of Business Research Paper No. 2876644. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2876644

Valentin Dimitrov

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

1 Washington Park
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

Prem C. Jain (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Accounting and Business Law ( email )

McDonough School of Business
Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-2260 (Phone)

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