Over the period 1976-2006, Harvard’s endowment had a real growth rate of 6.7%, while US GDP growth in real dollars was half as large, 3.5%. Having some fun plotting exponential growth, in 2056 Harvard’s endowment is projected to be $747 billion (2006 dollars), and exceed 1% of US GDP.
In 2155, Harvard’s endowment is projected to be 20% of US GDP and in 2208, Harvard’s endowment is projected to pass total US GDP. Add in other universities with large endowments, and in time they are projected to dominate world investment dollars. This begins to look silly, so at what point are these large investment funds likely to stall out?
These endowments are professional managed for growth and spending less than they earn, and this is expected to continue indefinitely. They are diversified and large enough that their investments don’t depend on any one company, industry, or class of financial investment.