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When cheaper is better: fee determination in the market for equity mutual funds

  • Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo
  • Gil-Bazo, Javier

In this paper, we develop a model of the market for equity mutual funds that captures three key characteristics of this market. First, there is competition among funds. Second, fund managers' ability is not observed by investors before making their investment decisions. And third, some investors do not make optimal use of all available information. The main results of the paper are that 1) price competition is compatible with positive mark-ups in equilibrium; and 2) worse-performing funds set fees that are greater or equal than those set by better-performing funds. These predictions are supported by available empirical evidence.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa in its series DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB with number wb054309.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cte:wbrepe:wb054309
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.business.uc3m.es/es/index

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  1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
  2. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2002. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," NBER Working Papers 9275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1985. "Delegated portfolio management," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-25, June.
  4. Paul G. Mahoney, 2004. "Manager-Investor Conflicts in Mutual Funds," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 161-182, Spring.
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  6. Bechmann, Ken L. & Rangvid, Jesper, 2007. "Rating mutual funds: Construction and information content of an investor-cost based rating of Danish mutual funds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 662-693, December.
  7. Palomino, Frederic & Prat, Andrea, 2003. " Risk Taking and Optimal Contracts for Money Managers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 113-37, Spring.
  8. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Alexander, Gordon J. & Jones, Jonathan D. & Nigro, Peter J., 1998. "Mutual fund shareholders: characteristics, investor knowledge, and sources of information," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 301-316.
  10. Claude Fluet & Paolo G. Garella, 1999. "Advertising and Prices as Signals of Quality in a Regime of Price Rivalry," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9903, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  11. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
  12. Roger Otten & Dennis Bams, 2002. "European Mutual Fund Performance," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 8(1), pages 75-101.
  13. Caves, Richard E. & Greene, David P., 1996. "Brands' quality levels, prices, and advertising outlays: empirical evidence on signals and information costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 29-52.
  14. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan, 1992. " The Persistence of Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1977-84, December.
  15. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean & Lu Zheng, 2005. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Effects of Expenses on Mutual Fund Flows," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2095-2120, November.
  16. Andrew Metrick & Richard Zeckhauser, 1996. "Price versus Quantity: Market Clearing Mechanisms When Sellers Differ in Quality," NBER Working Papers 5728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Nicolas P. B. Bollen, 2005. "Short-Term Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 569-597.
  18. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1996. "Are Some Mutual Funds Managers Better Than Others? Cross-Sectional Patterns in Behavior and Performance," NBER Working Papers 5852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bagwell, Kyle, 2007. "The Economic Analysis of Advertising," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  20. Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, and Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456.
  21. Kyle Bagwell & Michael Riordan, 1988. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," Discussion Papers 808, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  22. Elton, Edwin J, et al, 1993. "Efficiency with Costly Information: A Reinterpretation of Evidence from Managed Portfolios," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(1), pages 1-22.
  23. Mark N. Hertzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Price Competition and Advertising Signals: Signaling by Competing Senders," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 621-662, December.
  24. Russ Wermers, 2000. "Mutual Fund Performance: An Empirical Decomposition into Stock-Picking Talent, Style, Transactions Costs, and Expenses," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1655-1703, 08.
  25. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  26. Harless, David W. & Peterson, Steven P., 1998. "Investor behavior and the persistence of poorly-performing mutual funds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 257-276, November.
  27. Nanda, Vikram & Narayanan, M. P. & Warther, Vincent A., 2000. "Liquidity, investment ability, and mutual fund structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 417-443, September.
  28. Sanjiv Ranjan Das & Rangarajan K. Sundaram, 2002. "Fee Speech: Signaling, Risk-Sharing, and the Impact of Fee Structures on Investor Welfare," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(5), pages 1465-1497.
  29. Ronald T. Wilcox, 2003. "Bargain Hunting or Star Gazing? Investors' Preferences for Stock Mutual Funds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76(4), pages 645-664, October.
  30. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
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