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Should Investors Avoid All Actively Managed Mutual Funds? A Study in Bayesian Performance Evaluation

  • Klaas P. Baks

This paper analyzes mutual-fund performance from an investor's perspective. We study the portfolio-choice problem for a mean-variance investor choosing among a risk-free asset, index funds, and actively managed mutual funds. To solve this problem, we employ a Bayesian method of performance evaluation; a key innovation in our approach is the development of a flexible set of prior beliefs about managerial skill. We then apply our methodology to a sample of 1,437 mutual funds. We find that some extremely skeptical prior beliefs nevertheless lead to economically significant allocations to active managers. Copyright The American Finance Association 2001.

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Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal The Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 56 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 45-85

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:56:y:2001:i:1:p:45-85
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  1. Carlson, Robert S., 1970. "Aggregate Performance of Mutual Funds, 1948–1967," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 1-32, March.
  2. Kandel, Shmuel & McCulloch, Robert & Stambaugh, Robert F, 1995. "Bayesian Inference and Portfolio Efficiency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(1), pages 1-53.
  3. Lubos Pastor & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Comparing Asset Pricing Models: An Investment Perspective," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  4. Bruce N. Lehmann & David M. Modest, 1985. "Mutual Fund Performance Evaluation: A Comparison of Benchmarks and Benchmark Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 1721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Are Some Mutual Fund Managers Better Than Others? Cross-Sectional Patterns in Behavior and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 875-899, 06.
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  7. Lakonishok, Joseph & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1992. "The Structure and Performance of the Money Management Industry," Scholarly Articles 10498059, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1997. "Analyzing investments whose histories differ in length," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 285-331, September.
  9. William Goetzmann & Philippe Jorion, 1998. "Re-emerging Markets," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm50, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Aug 2000.
  10. Jorion, Philippe, 1985. "International Portfolio Diversification with Estimation Risk," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 259-78, July.
  11. Josef Lakonishok & Robert W. Vishny & Andrei Shleifer, 1993. "Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk," NBER Working Papers 4360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Keim, Donald B. & Madhavan, Ananth, 1997. "Transactions costs and investment style: an inter-exchange analysis of institutional equity trades," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 265-292, December.
  13. Gibbons, Michael R & Ross, Stephen A & Shanken, Jay, 1989. "A Test of the Efficiency of a Given Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1121-52, September.
  14. Frost, Peter A. & Savarino, James E., 1986. "An Empirical Bayes Approach to Efficient Portfolio Selection," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(03), pages 293-305, September.
  15. Elton, Edwin J & Gruber, Martin J & Blake, Christopher R, 1996. "The Persistence of Risk-Adjusted Mutual Fund Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69(2), pages 133-57, April.
  16. Jorion, Philippe, 1986. "Bayes-Stein Estimation for Portfolio Analysis," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(03), pages 279-292, September.
  17. Brown, Stephen J & Goetzmann, William N, 1995. " Performance Persistence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 679-98, June.
  18. Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F, 1996. " On the Predictability of Stock Returns: An Asset-Allocation Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 385-424, June.
  19. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  20. Klein, Roger W. & Bawa, Vijay S., 1976. "The effect of estimation risk on optimal portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 215-231, June.
  21. Shanken, Jay, 1987. "A Bayesian approach to testing portfolio efficiency," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 195-215, December.
  22. Lubos Pástor & Robert F. Stambaugh, 1999. "Costs of Equity Capital and Model Mispricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 67-121, 02.
  23. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  24. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  25. Brown, Stephen J, et al, 1992. "Survivorship Bias in Performance Studies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(4), pages 553-80.
  26. Jorion, Philippe, 1991. "Bayesian and CAPM estimators of the means: Implications for portfolio selection," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 717-727, June.
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  28. Lehmann, Bruce N & Modest, David M, 1987. " Mutual Fund Performance Evaluation: A Comparison of Benchmarks and Benchmark Comparisons," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 233-65, June.
  29. repec:fth:harver:1867 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Klaas Baks & Andrew Metrick & Jessica Wachter, 1999. "Bayesian Performance Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 7069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Kent Daniel & Sheridan Titman, 1996. "Evidence on the Characteristics of Cross Sectional Variation in Stock Returns," NBER Working Papers 5604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Goetzmann, W.N. & Ibbotson, R.G., 1990. "Do Winners Repeat? Patterns in Mutual Fund Behavior," Papers fb-_91-04, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
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