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Expected returns and expected dividend growth: time to rethink an established empirical literature

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Abstract:

This article examines various state-space and VAR model specifications to investigate the contributions of expected returns and expected dividend growth to movements in the price-dividend ratio. We show that both models involve serious inference problems that need to be dealt with carefully. We propose procedures that offer more reliable inference results, and the corrected inferences indicate that the aggregate data of dividends and returns alone do not provide strong enough evidence to support the notion that the expected returns dominate the stock price variation. However, we show that an alternative measure of cash flows termed the net payout by Larrain and Yogo (2008) appears to lend strong support to the notion that the expected cash flow explains a large fraction of the firm value variation. This finding remains robust in both state-space and VAR decompositions with the corrected inference.

Keywords: C32; C58; G12; state-space model; stock price decomposition; weak identification

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2014.899674

Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies, Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487–0024, USA 2: Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Mammel Hall 332S, Omaha, NE, 68182–0286, USA

Publication date: July 23, 2014

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