Shareholder Wealth Enhancement, 1926 to 2022

24 Pages Posted: 19 May 2023 Last revised: 18 Jun 2023

Date Written: June 17, 2023


Investments in publicly-listed U.S. stocks enhanced shareholder wealth by more than $55.1 trillion in aggregate during the 1926 to 2022 period, even while investments in the majority (58.6%) of the 28,114 individual stocks led to reduced rather than increased shareholder wealth. The degree to which wealth enhancement is concentrated in relatively few stocks has increased over time: for example, the number of high-performing firms that explain half of the net wealth creation since 1926 decreased from ninety as of 2016 to eight-three as of 2019 and to seventy-two as of 2022. I identify the firms with both the largest enhancements and largest reductions in shareholder wealth since 1926 and during more recent intervals.

Keywords: shareholder wealth, long horizon returns, stock market performance

Suggested Citation

Bessembinder, Hendrik (Hank), Shareholder Wealth Enhancement, 1926 to 2022 (June 17, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Hendrik (Hank) Bessembinder (Contact Author)

W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

W. P. Carey School of Business
PO Box 873906
Tempe, AZ 85287-3906
United States


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