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Unformatted text preview: 1 Equity Risk Premiums (ERP): Determinants, Estimation and Implications – The 2011 Edition Updated: February 2011 Aswath Damodaran Stern School of Business [email protected] 2 Equity Risk Premiums (ERP): Determinants, Estimation and Implications Equity risk premiums are a central component of every risk and return model in finance and are a key input into estimating costs of equity and capital in both corporate finance and valuation. Given their importance, it is surprising how haphazard the estimation of equity risk premiums remains in practice. We begin this paper by looking at the economic determinants of equity risk premiums, including investor risk aversion, information uncertainty and perceptions of macroeconomic risk. In the standard approach to estimating equity risk premiums, historical returns are used, with the difference in annual returns on stocks versus bonds over a long time period comprising the expected risk premium. We note the limitations of this approach, even in markets like the United States, which have long periods of historical data available, and its complete failure in emerging markets, where the historical data tends to be limited and volatile. We look at two other approaches to estimating equity risk premiums – the survey approach, where investors and managers are asked to assess the risk premium and the implied approach, where a forwardlooking estimate of the premium is estimated using either current equity prices or risk premiums in nonequity markets. We also look at the relationship between the equity risk premium and risk premiums in the bond market (default spreads) and in real estate (cap rates) and how that relationship can be mined to generated expected equity risk premiums. We close the paper by examining why different approaches yield different values for the equity risk premium, and how to choose the “right” number to use in analysis. (This is the fourth update of this piece. The first update was in the midst of the banking crisis in 2008 and there were annual updates for 2009 and 2010.) 3 The notion that risk matters, and that riskier investments should have higher expected returns than safer investments, to be considered good investments, is both central to modern finance and intuitive. Thus, the expected return on any investment can be written as the sum of the riskfree rate and a risk premium to compensate for the risk. The disagreement, in both theoretical and practical terms, remains on how to measure the risk in an investment, and how to convert the risk measure into an expected return that compensates for risk. A central number in this debate is the premium that investors demand for investing in the ‘average risk’ equity investment, i.e., the equity risk premium....
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 Fall '06
 Aswath
 Finance, equity risk premiums

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