IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Indexing and active fund management: International evidence


  • Cremers, Martijn
  • Ferreira, Miguel A.
  • Matos, Pedro
  • Starks, Laura


We examine the relation between indexing and active management in the mutual fund industry worldwide. Explicit indexing and closet indexing by active funds are associated with countries’ regulatory and financial market environments. We find that actively managed funds are more active and charge lower fees when they face more competitive pressure from low-cost explicitly indexed funds. A quasi-natural experiment using the exogenous variation in indexed funds generated by the passage of pension laws supports a causal interpretation of the results. Moreover, the average alpha generated by active management is higher in countries with more explicit indexing and lower in countries with more closet indexing. Overall, our evidence suggests that explicit indexing improves competition in the mutual fund industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Cremers, Martijn & Ferreira, Miguel A. & Matos, Pedro & Starks, Laura, 2016. "Indexing and active fund management: International evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 539-560.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:120:y:2016:i:3:p:539-560
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2016.02.008

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:bis:bisqtr:1803j is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Raddatz, Claudio & Schmukler, Sergio L. & Williams, Tomás, 2017. "International asset allocations and capital flows: The benchmark effect," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 413-430.
    3. Dahlquist, Magnus & Odegaard, Bernt Arne, 2018. "A Review of Norges Bank's Active Management of the Government Pension Fund Global," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2018/1, University of Stavanger.
    4. repec:eee:quaeco:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:146-157 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Harry Flam & Roine Vestman, 2017. "Swedish Equity Mutual Funds 1993-2013: Performance, Persistence and Presence of Skill," CESifo Working Paper Series 6713, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. repec:spr:annopr:v:267:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-017-2429-z is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:jfinec:v:126:y:2017:i:1:p:122-146 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:finmar:v:36:y:2017:i:c:p:17-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ferreira, Miguel & Massa, Massimo & Matos, Pedro Pinto, 2016. "Investor-Stock Decoupling in Mutual Funds," CEPR Discussion Papers 11476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:29-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Cremers, Martijn & Pareek, Ankur, 2016. "Patient capital outperformance: The investment skill of high active share managers who trade infrequently," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 288-306.
    12. repec:eee:jbfina:v:82:y:2017:i:c:p:133-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Braun, Benjamin, 2016. "Gross, greed, and ETFs: The case for a microfounded political economy of the investment chain," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 17(3), pages 6-13.
    14. Cheng, Si & Massa, Massimo & Zhang, Hong, 2017. "Inefficient Globalization of Finance: Evidence from Marketing-Oriented Overseas Expansions of Low-Skilled Mutual Fund Families," CEPR Discussion Papers 11990, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Mutual funds; Active management; Index funds; Exchange-traded funds; Competition; Fees; Performance;

    JEL classification:

    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:120:y:2016:i:3:p:539-560. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.