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Scale and Skill in Active Management

Author

Listed:
  • Lubos Pastor

    (University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

  • Robert F. Stambaugh

    () (The Wharton School of the University of Pennsyvlania)

  • Lucian A. Taylor

    ()

Abstract

We empirically analyze the nature of returns to scale in active mutual fund management. We find strong evidence of decreasing returns at the industry level: As the size of the active mutual fund industry increases, a fund’s ability to out- perform passive benchmarks declines. At the fund level, all methods considered indicate decreasing returns, but estimates that avoid econometric biases are in- significant. We also find that the active management industry has become more skilled over time. This upward trend in skill coincides with industry growth, which precludes the skill improvement from boosting fund performance. Finally, we find that performance deteriorates over a typical fund’s lifetime. This result can also be explained by industry-level decreasing returns to scale. Â

Suggested Citation

  • Lubos Pastor & Robert F. Stambaugh & Lucian A. Taylor, 2014. "Scale and Skill in Active Management," Working Papers 2014-003, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfi:wpaper:2014-003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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