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Fund managers - Why the best might be the worst: On the evolutionary vigor of risk-seeking behavior

  • Witte, Björn-Christopher
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    This article explores the influence of competitive conditions on the evolutionary fitness of different risk preferences. As a practical example, the professional competition between fund managers is considered. To explore how different settings of competition parameters, the exclusion rate and the exclusion interval, affect individual investment behavior, an evolutionary model is developed. Using a simple genetic algorithm, two attributes of virtual fund managers evolve: the share of capital invested in a risky asset and the amount of excessive risk accepted, where a positive value of the latter parameter points to an inefficient investment portfolio. The simulation experiments illustrate that the influence of competitive conditions on investment behavior and attitudes towards risk is significant. What is alarming is that intense competitive pressure generates risk-seeking behavior and undermines the predominance of the most skilled. In these conditions, evolution does not necessarily select managers with efficient portfolios. These results underline the institutional need for the creation of a competitive framework in which risk-taking does not provide an evolutionary advantage per se, and indicate measures on how to achieve this.

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    Article provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its journal Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2012)
    Issue (Month): ()
    Pages: 1-29

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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:201224
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    1. Hommes, C.H., 2000. "Financial Markets as Nonlinear Adaptive Evolutionary Systems," CeNDEF Working Papers 00-03, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
    2. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
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    4. repec:att:wimass:9621 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
    6. Dekel, Eddie & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1992. "On the evolution of optimizing behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 392-406, August.
    7. Neely, Christopher & Weller, Paul & Dittmar, Rob, 1997. "Is Technical Analysis in the Foreign Exchange Market Profitable? A Genetic Programming Approach," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 405-426, December.
    8. Igor V. Evstigneev & Thorsten Hens & Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hoppé, . "Market Selection of Financial Trading Strategies: Global Stability," IEW - Working Papers 083, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    9. Rubin, Paul H & Paul, Chris W, II, 1979. "An Evolutionary Model of Taste for Risk," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(4), pages 585-96, October.
    10. Tesfatsion, Leigh & Judd, Kenneth L., 2006. "Handbook of Computational Economics, Vol. 2: Agent-Based Computational Economics," Staff General Research Papers 10368, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    11. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David, 1992. "Evolution and market behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 9-40, October.
    12. Brock, William A. & Hommes, Cars H., 1998. "Heterogeneous beliefs and routes to chaos in a simple asset pricing model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1235-1274, August.
    13. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
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