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The Small World of Investing: Board Connections and Mutual Fund Returns

  • Lauren Cohen
  • Andrea Frazzini
  • Christopher Malloy

This paper uses social networks to identify information transfer in security markets. We focus on connections between mutual fund managers and corporate board members via shared education networks. We find that portfolio managers place larger bets on firms they are connected to through their network, and perform significantly better on these holdings relative to their non-connected holdings. A replicating portfolio of connected stocks outperforms a replicating portfolio of non-connected stocks by up to 8.4% per year. Returns are concentrated around corporate news announcements, consistent with mutual fund managers gaining an informational advantage through the education networks. Our results suggest that social networks may be an important mechanism for information flow into asset prices.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13121.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13121.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Publication status: published as Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher Malloy, 2008. "The Small World of Investing: Board Connections and Mutual Fund Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 951-979, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13121
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  1. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2002. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," FAME Research Paper Series rp100, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
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  9. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "Thy Neighbor's Portfolio: Word-of-Mouth Effects in the Holdings and Trades of Money Managers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2801-2824, December.
  10. Malcolm Baker & Lubomir Litov & Jessica A. Wachter & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2004. "Can Mutual Fund Managers Pick Stocks? Evidence from the Trades Prior to Earnings Announcements," NBER Working Papers 10685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Huberman, Gur, 2001. "Familiarity Breeds Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 659-80.
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  15. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan & Wermers, Russ, 1995. "Momentum Investment Strategies, Portfolio Performance, and Herding: A Study of Mutual Fund Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1088-1105, December.
  16. Camelia M. Kuhnen, 2009. "Business Networks, Corporate Governance, and Contracting in the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(5), pages 2185-2220, October.
  17. Francisco Pérez-González, 2006. "Inherited Control and Firm Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1559-1588, December.
  18. Cohen, Randolph & Coval, Joshua & Pástor, Luboš, 2003. "Judging Fund Managers by the Company They Keep," CEPR Discussion Papers 3717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  22. Martin J. Conyon & Mark R. Muldoon, 2006. "The Small World of Corporate Boards," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(9-10), pages 1321-1343.
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