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A History of Australian Equities

Thomas Mathews
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Thomas Mathews: Reserve Bank of Australia

RBA Research Discussion Papers from Reserve Bank of Australia

Abstract: This paper presents stylised facts about the historical Australian equity market, drawn from a new hand-collected unit record dataset on listed companies from 1917 to 1979. Among other things, I show that: i) dividends for the early 20th century were lower than previously believed; ii) the realised returns on equities has averaged about 4 percentage points above that on government bonds since 1917, somewhat lower than previous estimates; iii) the share of profits paid out as dividends increased substantially after the introduction of franking credits in the 1980s; iv) the current industry composition of the stock exchange is atypical relative to history, despite it being dominated by essentially the same companies for the past century; and v) price-to-earnings ratios are currently almost exactly at their very long-run average, in contrast with the experience of some of other countries.

Keywords: stock market history; Australia; dividends; equity premium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G12 G35 N27 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
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