The Rate of Return on Everything: 1870–2015

From a new paper by Oscar Jorda, Katharina Knoll, Dmitry Kuvshinov, Moritz Schularick, and Alan M. Taylor:

“This paper answers fundamental questions that have preoccupied modern economic thought since the 18th century. What is the aggregate real rate of return in the economy? Is it higher than the growth rate of the economy and, if so, by how much? Is there a tendency for returns to fall in the long-run? Which particular assets have the highest long-run returns? We answer these questions on the basis of a new and comprehensive dataset for all major asset classes, including—for the first time—total returns to the largest, but often ignored, component of household wealth, housing. The annual data on total returns for equity, housing, bonds, and bills cover 16 advanced economies from 1870 to 2015, and our new evidence reveals many new insights and puzzles.”

“This paper, perhaps for the first time, investigates the long history of asset returns for all the major categories of an economy’s investable wealth portfolio. Our investigation has confirmed many of the broad patterns that have occupied much research in economics and finance. The returns to risky assets, and risk premiums, have been high and stable over the past 150 years, and substantial diversification opportunities exist between risky asset classes, and across countries. Arguably the most surprising result of our study is that long run returns on housing and equity look remarkably similar. Yet while returns are comparable, residential real estate is less volatile on a national level, opening up new and interesting risk premium puzzles.”





Posted by at 7:34 AM

Labels: Housing


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