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Time-Varying Fund Manager Skill

  • Kacperczyk, Marcin
  • van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn
  • Veldkamp, Laura

How to evaluate a fund manager’s skill is a central question in empirical finance. Prior literature has defined skill as an ability to either pick stocks or time the market, at all times. We propose a new definition of skill as a general cognitive ability used in different ways at different times. We find evidence for stock picking in booms and for market timing in recessions. Moreover, the same fund managers that pick stocks well in expansions also time the market well in recessions. These fund managers significantly outperform other funds and passive benchmarks. Our results suggest a new metric of managerial ability that can be constructed in real time and can predict fund performance. The metric gives more weight to a fund’s market timing in recessions and to a fund’s stock picking in booms, and it displays far more persistence than either market timing or stock picking alone.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9025.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9025
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  1. Marcin Kacperczyk & Amit Seru, 2007. "Fund Manager Use of Public Information: New Evidence on Managerial Skills," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 485-528, 04.
  2. Glode, Vincent, 2011. "Why mutual funds "underperform"," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 546-559, March.
  3. Marcelle Chauvet & Jeremy M. Piger, 2005. "A comparison of the real-time performance of business cycle dating methods," Working Papers 2005-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. "Performance Measurement without Benchmarks: An Examination of Mutual Fund Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 47-68, January.
  5. Matthew Spiegel & Harry Mamaysky & Hong Zhang, 2005. "Estimating the Dynamics of Mutual Fund Alphas and Betas," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm353, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Apr 2005.
  6. Ferson, Wayne E & Schadt, Rudi W, 1996. " Measuring Fund Strategy and Performance in Changing Economic Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 425-61, June.
  7. Marcin Kacperczyk & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Laura Veldkamp, 2009. "Rational Attention Allocation Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 15450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jennifer Huang & Clemens Sialm & Hanjiang Zhang, 2011. "Risk Shifting and Mutual Fund Performance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2575-2616.
  9. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2005. "On the Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1983-2011, 08.
  10. Pastor, Lubos & Stambaugh, Robert F., 2002. "Investing in equity mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 351-380, March.
  11. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  12. Wayne Ferson & Kenneth Khang, 2002. "Conditional Performance Measurement Using Portfolio Weights: Evidence for Pension Funds," NBER Working Papers 8790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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