We study a new data set of prices of traded dividends with maturities up to 10 years across three world regions: the US, Europe, and Japan. We use these asset prices to construct equity yields, analogous to bond yields. We decompose these yields to obtain a term structure of expected dividend growth rates and a term structure of risk premia, which allows us to decompose the equity risk premium by maturity. We find that both expected dividend growth rates and risk premia exhibit substantial variation over time, particularly for short maturities. In addition to predicting dividend growth, equity yields help predict other measures of economic growth such as consumption growth. We relate the dynamics of growth expectations to recent events such as the financial crisis and the earthquake in Japan.
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This paper was revised on October 26, 2011