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Fund managers - Why the best might be the worst: On the evolutionary vigor of risk-seeking behavior

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  • Witte, Björn-Christopher
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    Abstract

    This article explores the influence of competitive conditions on the evolutionary fitness of different risk preferences. As a practical example, the professional competition between fund managers is considered. To explore how different settings of competition parameters, the exclusion rate and the exclusion interval, affect individual investment behavior, an evolutionary model is developed. Using a simple genetic algorithm, two attributes of virtual fund managers evolve: the share of capital invested in a risky asset and the amount of excessive risk accepted, where a positive value of the latter parameter points to an inefficient investment portfolio. The simulation experiments illustrate that the influence of competitive conditions on investment behavior and attitudes towards risk is significant. What is alarming is that intense competitive pressure generates risk-seeking behavior and undermines the predominance of the most skilled. In these conditions, evolution does not necessarily select managers with efficient portfolios. These results underline the institutional need for the creation of a competitive framework in which risk-taking does not provide an evolutionary advantage per se, and indicate measures on how to achieve this. --

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2012-24
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its journal Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 24 ()
    Pages: 1-29

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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201224

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    Keywords: risk preferences; competition; genetic programming; fund managers; portfolio theory;

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    1. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
    2. Christopher J. Neely & Paul A. Weller & Robert Dittmar, 1997. "Is technical analysis in the foreign exchange market profitable? a genetic programming approach," Working Papers 1996-006, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," NBER Working Papers 14299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. C. H. Hommes, 2001. "Financial markets as nonlinear adaptive evolutionary systems," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 149-167.
    5. Tesfatsion, Leigh & Judd, Kenneth L., 2006. "Handbook of Computational Economics, Vol. 2: Agent-Based Computational Economics," Staff General Research Papers 10368, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    6. Rubin, Paul H & Paul, Chris W, II, 1979. "An Evolutionary Model of Taste for Risk," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(4), pages 585-96, October.
    7. repec:att:wimass:9621 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Igor V. Evstigneev & Thorsten Hens & Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé, 2002. "Market Selection Of Financial Trading Strategies: Global Stability," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 329-339.
    9. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, December.
    10. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David, 1992. "Evolution and market behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 9-40, October.
    11. E. Dekel & S. Scotchmer, 2010. "On the Evolution of Optimizing Behavior," Levine's Working Paper Archive 434, David K. Levine.
    12. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
    13. Brock, William A. & Hommes, Cars H., 1998. "Heterogeneous beliefs and routes to chaos in a simple asset pricing model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1235-1274, August.
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