The index premium and its hidden cost for index funds
This paper empirically investigates the index premium and its implications from 1990 to 2005. For additions to the S&P 500 and Russell 2000, we find that the price impact from announcement to effective day has averaged + 8.8% and + 4.7%, respectively, and -15.1% and -4.6% for deletions. The premia have been growing over time, peaking in 2000, and declining since then. The implied price elasticity of demand increases with firm size and decreases with idiosyncratic risk, supporting theoretical predictions. We also introduce a new concept that we label the index turnover cost, which represents a hidden cost borne by index funds (and the indexes themselves) due to the index premium. We illustrate this cost and estimate its lower bound as 21-28 bp annually for the S&P 500 and 38-77 bp annually for the Russell 2000.
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