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On the Economic Consequences of Index-Linked Investing

  • Jeffrey Wurgler

Trillions of dollars are invested through index funds, exchange-traded funds, and other index derivatives. The benefits of index-linked investing are well-known, but the possible broader economic consequences are unstudied. I review research which suggests that index-linked investing is distorting stock prices and risk-return tradeoffs, which in turn may be distorting corporate investment and financing decisions, investor portfolio allocation decisions, fund manager skill assessments, and other choices and measures. These effects may intensify as index-linked investing continues to grow in popularity.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16376.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16376.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “On the Economic Consequences of Index - Linked Investing,” Challenges to Business in the Twenty - First Century: The Way Forward , edited by W.T. Allen, R. Khurana, J. Lorsch, and G. Rosenfeld, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2011.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16376
Note: AP CF
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Jeffrey Wurgler & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2000. "Does Arbitrage Flatten Demand Curves for Stocks?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm152, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Nov 2001.
  2. Mark Carlson, 2006. "A brief history of the 1987 stock market crash with a discussion of the Federal Reserve response," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Randall Morck & Fan Yang, 2001. "The Mysterious Growing Value of S&P 500 Membership," NBER Working Papers 8654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ang, Andrew & Hodrick, Robert J. & Xing, Yuhang & Zhang, Xiaoyan, 2009. "High idiosyncratic volatility and low returns: International and further U.S. evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 1-23, January.
  5. Massa, Massimo & Peyer, Urs & Tong, Zhenxu, 2005. "Limits of Arbitrage and Corporate Financial Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4829, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Andrew Ang & Robert J. Hodrick & Yuhang Xing & Xiaoyan Zhang, 2006. "The Cross-Section of Volatility and Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 259-299, 02.
  7. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2004. "Hedge Funds and the Technology Bubble," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2013-2040, October.
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