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American exceptionalism: the long-term evidence


Journal of Portfolio Management



Authors / Editors

Dimson E;Marsh P;Staunton M

Publication Year



In this article, the authors examine the evolving composition of the global equity market over the last 121 years. Using the DMS database from Morningstar, they study the long-term returns on all the main asset classes. The authors present investment returns based on 90 countries, 23 of which have histories starting in 1900. Over the long run, equity returns have systematically exceeded the investment performance of government bonds and Treasury bills. For the world as a whole, stocks beat bills by 4.4% per year and bonds by 3.1% per year. In the United States, stocks outperformed bills by 5.8% per year, compared with 3.7% per year in the world ex-US. Contrary to many equity investors’ expectations at the dawn of the 21st century, the United States continued to outperform non-US stock markets by a significant margin.


Security analysis and valuation; Global markets; Financial crises and financial market history; Performance measurement

Available on ECCH


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