Relationship between franking credits and the market risk premium


  • The Australian Research Council provided funds for this project under Grant DP03-42953.

  • doi: 10.1111/j.1467-629X.2006.00175.x


In a dividend imputation tax system, equity investors have three potential sources of return: dividends, capital gains and franking (tax) credits. However, the standard procedures for estimating the market risk premium (MRP) for use in the capital asset pricing model, ignore the value of franking credits. Officer (1994) notes that if franking credits do affect the corporate cost of capital, their value must be added to the standard estimates of MRP. In the present paper, we explicitly derive the relationship between the value of franking credits (gamma) and the MRP. We show that the standard parameter estimates that have been adopted in practice (especially by Australian regulators) violate this deterministic mathematical relationship. We also show how information on dividend yields and effective tax rates bounds the values that can be reasonably used for gamma and the MRP. We make recommendations for how estimates of the MRP should be adjusted to reflect the value of franking credits in an internally consistent manner.