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How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications

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  • Jeffrey Brown
  • Stephen G. Dimmock
  • Jun-Koo Kang
  • Scott Weisbenner

Abstract

Endowment payouts have become an increasingly important component of universities’ revenues in recent decades. We test two leading theories of endowment payouts: (1) universities smooth endowment payouts, or (2) universities use endowments as self-insurance against financial shocks. In contrast to both theories, endowments actively reduce payouts relative to their stated payout policies following negative, but not positive, shocks. This asymmetric behavior is consistent with “endowment hoarding,” especially among endowments with values close to the benchmark value at the start of the university president’s tenure. We also document the effect of negative endowment shocks on university operations, including personnel cuts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15861.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Jun-Koo Kang & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2014. "How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 931-62, March.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15861

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  1. University endowment shocks and resource allocation
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-05-05 14:00:00
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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Scott Weisbenner, 2012. "The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 18389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Keith Brown & Cristian Tiu, 2013. "The Interaction of Spending Policies, Asset Allocation Strategies, and Investment Performance at University Endowment Funds," NBER Working Papers 19517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stephen Satchell & Susan Thorp & Oliver Williams, 2012. "Estimating Consumption Plans for Recursive Utility by Maximum Entropy Methods," Research Paper Series 300, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
  4. David Dranove & Craig Garthwaite & Christopher Ody, 2013. "How do Hospitals Respond to Negative Financial Shocks? The Impact of the 2008 Stock Market Crash," NBER Working Papers 18853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Keith C. Brown & Cristian Ioan Tiu, 2013. "The Interaction of Spending Policies, Asset Allocation Strategies, and Investment Performance at University Endowment Funds," NBER Chapters, in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2012. "Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University," NBER Working Papers 18626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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