Biases and Error Measures: How to Compare Valuation Methods

ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2006-011-F&A

Mannheim Finance Working Paper No. 2006-07

41 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2006 Last revised: 26 Aug 2008

See all articles by Ingolf Dittmann

Ingolf Dittmann

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Tinbergen Institute; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Ernst G. Maug

University of Mannheim Business School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: August 25, 2008

Abstract

We investigate biases of valuation methods and document that these depend largely on the choice of error measure (percentage vs. logarithmic errors) used to compare valuation procedures. We analyze four multiple valuation methods (averaging with the arithmetic mean, harmonic mean, median, and the geometric mean) and three present value approaches (dividend discount model, discounted cash flow model, residual income model). Percentage errors generate a positive bias for most multiples, and they imply that setting company values equal to their book values dominates many established valuation methods. Logarithmic errors imply that the median and the geometric mean are unbiased while the arithmetic mean is biased upward as much as the harmonic mean is biased downward. The dividend discount model dominates the discounted cash flow model only for percentage errors, while the opposite is true for logarithmic errors. The residual income model is optimal for both error measures.

Keywords: Valuation, Financial Ratios, Multiples, Dividend Discount Model, Discounted Cash Flow Model, Residual Income Model

JEL Classification: G10, G34

Suggested Citation

Dittmann, Ingolf and Maug, Ernst G., Biases and Error Measures: How to Compare Valuation Methods (August 25, 2008). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2006-011-F&A; Mannheim Finance Working Paper No. 2006-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=947436 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.947436

Ingolf Dittmann (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands
+31 10 4081283 (Phone)
+31 10 4089165 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.few.eur.nl/dittmann/

Tinbergen Institute

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Ernst G. Maug

University of Mannheim Business School ( email )

L9, 1-2
Mannheim, 68131
Germany
+49 621 181-1952 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cf.bwl.uni-mannheim.de/de/people/maug/

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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