We revisit several leading puzzles about the aggregate stock market by incorporating into a standard dividend discount model survey expectations of earnings of S&P 500 firms. Using survey expectations, while keeping discount rates constant, explains a significant part of “excess” stock price volatility, price-earnings ratio variation, and return predictability. The evidence is consistent with a mechanism in which good news about fundamentals leads to excessively optimistic forecasts of earnings, especially at long horizons, which inflate stock prices and lead to subsequent low returns. Relaxing rational expectations of fundamentals in a standard asset pricing model accounts for stock market anomalies in a parsimonious way.
We analyze time series of investor expectations of future stock market returns from six data sources between 1963 and 2011. The six measures of expectations are highly positively correlated with each other, as well as with past stock returns and with the level of the stock market. However, investor expectations are strongly negatively correlated with model-based expected returns. The evidence is not consistent with rational expectations representative investor models of returns.
We present a model of succession in a ¢rm owned and managed by its founder. The founder decides between hiring a professional manager or leaving management to his heir, as well as on what fraction of the company to £oat on the stock exchange. We assume that a professional is a better manager than the heir, and describe how the founder’s decision is shaped by the legal environment. This theory of separation of ownership from management includes the Anglo-Saxon and the Continental European patterns of corporate governance as special cases, and generates additional empirical predictions consistent with cross-country evidence.
In China, local governments have actively contributed to the growth of new firms. In Russia, local governments have typically stood in the way, be it through taxation, regulation, or corruption. We argue that the difference can be traced to lies in the degree of political centralization present in China, but not in Russia. In China the central government has been strong and disciplined enough to induce local governments to favor growth. In Russia, it has not. We agree, but with an important caveat. We believe the experience of Russia indicates that another ingredient is crucial, namely political centralization.
We introduce the model of asset management developed in Gennaioli, Shleifer, and Vishny (GSV, 2014) into a Solow-style neoclassical growth model with diminishing returns to capital. Savers rely on trusted intermediaries to manage their wealth (claims on capital stock), who can charge fees above costs to trusting investors. In this model, the ratio of financial income to GDP increases with the ratio of aggregate wealth to GDP. Both rise along the convergence path to steady state growth. We examine several further implications of the model for management fees, unit costs of finance, and the consequences of shocks to trust and to the capital stock.
Gary Becker, who died on 3 May 2014 at the age of 83, redefined economics both in its methodology and scope. He radically expanded the sphere of economic analysis. As the range of issues and especially data in economics increased over the last half century, Becker's approach became more and more relevant and modern. He was awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economics for “having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including nonmarket behavior.”