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Rational Attention Allocation Over the Business Cycle

  • Marcin Kacperczyk
  • Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
  • Laura Veldkamp

The question of whether and how mutual fund managers provide valuable services for their clients motivates one of the largest literatures in finance. One candidate explanation is that funds process information about future asset values and use that information to invest in high-valued assets. But formal theories are scarce because information choice models with many assets are difficult to solve as well as difficult to test. This paper tackles both problems by developing a new attention allocation model that uses the state of the business cycle to predict information choices, which in turn, predict observable patterns of portfolio investments and returns. The predictions about fund portfolios’ covariance with payoff shocks, cross-fund portfolio and return dispersion, and their excess returns are all supported by the data. These findings offer new evidence that some investment managers have skill and that attention is allocated rationally.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15450.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15450
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  1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2002. "The 6D Bias and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1947, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Joseph Chen & Harrison Hong & Ming Huang & Jeffrey D. Kubik, 2004. "Does Fund Size Erode Mutual Fund Performance? The Role of Liquidity and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1276-1302, December.
  3. Basak, Suleyman & Pavlova, Anna & Shapiro, Alex, 2006. "Optimal Asset Allocation and Risk Shifting in Money Management," CEPR Discussion Papers 5524, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2008. "Unobserved Actions of Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(6), pages 2379-2416, November.
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  7. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  8. Dimitri Vayanos & Paul Woolley, 2008. "An institutional theory of momentum and reversal," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24423, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Laura Veldkamp & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2004. "Information Immobility and the Home Bias Puzzle," Working Papers 04-32, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Manuel Amador & Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2010. "Learning from Prices: Public Communication and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(5), pages 866 - 907.
  11. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky information versus sticky prices: a proposal to replace the New-Keynesian Phillips curve," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  12. Brunnermeier, Markus K & Gollier, Christian & Parker, Jonathan A, 2007. "Optimal Beliefs, Asset Prices and the Preference for Skewed Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 6181, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Baker, Malcolm & Litov, Lubomir & Wachter, Jessica A. & Wurgler, Jeffrey, 2010. "Can Mutual Fund Managers Pick Stocks? Evidence from Their Trades Prior to Earnings Announcements," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(05), pages 1111-1131, October.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Randolph Cohen & Joshua Coval & Lubos Pastor, 2002. "Judging Fund Managers by the Company They Keep," NBER Working Papers 9359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2006. "Costly Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1043-1068, September.
  18. Laura Veldkamp, 2004. "Media Frenzies in Markets for Financial Information," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 4, Econometric Society.
  19. Jennifer Huang & Clemens Sialm & Hanjiang Zhang, 2009. "Risk Shifting and Mutual Fund Performance," NBER Working Papers 14903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Ang, Andrew & Chen, Joseph, 2002. "Asymmetric correlations of equity portfolios," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 443-494, March.
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  23. Admati, Anat R, 1985. "A Noisy Rational Expectations Equilibrium for Multi-asset Securities Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 629-57, May.
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  25. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  26. Harold L. Cole & Hanno & YiLi Chien, 2007. "Macro Implications of Household Finance," 2007 Meeting Papers 479, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2004. "On the Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds," NBER Working Papers 10770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. William N. Goetzmann & Stephen J. Brown, 2005. "Performance Persistence," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm451, Yale School of Management.
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