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The Economic Impact of Index Investing


  • Jonathan Brogaard
  • Matthew C Ringgenberg
  • David Sovich


We study the impact of index investing on firm performance by examining the link between commodity indices and firms that use index commodities. Around 2004, commodity index investing dramatically increased. This event is referred to as the financialization of commodity markets. Following financialization, firms that use index commodities make worse production decisions, earn 40% lower profits, and have 6% higher costs. Consistent with a feedback channel in which market participants learn from prices, our results suggest that index investing distorts the price signal, thereby generating a negative externality that impedes firms’ ability to make production decisions. Received March 31, 2017; editorial decision July 5, 2018 by Editor Itay Goldstein. Authors have furnished an Internet Appendix, which is available on the Oxford University Press Web site next to the link to the final published paper online.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Brogaard & Matthew C Ringgenberg & David Sovich, 2019. "The Economic Impact of Index Investing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(9), pages 3461-3499.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:32:y:2019:i:9:p:3461-3499.

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    Cited by:

    1. Ferracuti, Elia, 2022. "Information uncertainty and organizational design," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1).
    2. Biguri, Kizkitza & Brownlees, Christian & Ippolito, Filippo, 2022. "Corporate hedging and the variance of stock returns," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    3. Bohl, Martin T. & Pütz, Alexander & Sulewski, Christoph, 2021. "Speculation and the informational efficiency of commodity futures markets," Journal of Commodity Markets, Elsevier, vol. 23(C).
    4. Nguyen, Quynh Nga & Aboura, Sofiane & Chevallier, Julien & Zhang, Lyuyuan & Zhu, Bangzhu, 2020. "Local Gaussian correlations in financial and commodity markets," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 285(1), pages 306-323.
    5. Ahmed S. Baig & Benjamin M. Blau & R. Jared DeLisle, 2022. "Does mutual fund ownership reduce stock price clustering? Evidence from active and index funds," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 615-647, February.
    6. Gunratan Lonare & Ahmet Nart & Ahmet M. Tuncez, 2022. "Industry tournament incentives and corporate hedging policies," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 399-453, June.
    7. Lauter, Tobias & Prokopczuk, Marcel, 2022. "Measuring commodity market quality," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).

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