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Buffett's Alpha

Author

Listed:
  • Andrea Frazzini
  • David Kabiller
  • Lasse H. Pedersen

Abstract

Berkshire Hathaway has realized a Sharpe ratio of 0.76, higher than any other stock or mutual fund with a history of more than 30 years, and Berkshire has a significant alpha to traditional risk factors. However, we find that the alpha becomes insignificant when controlling for exposures to Betting-Against-Beta and Quality-Minus-Junk factors. Further, we estimate that Buffett's leverage is about 1.6-to-1 on average. Buffett's returns appear to be neither luck nor magic, but, rather, reward for the use of leverage combined with a focus on cheap, safe, quality stocks. Decomposing Berkshires' portfolio into ownership in publicly traded stocks versus wholly-owned private companies, we find that the former performs the best, suggesting that Buffett's returns are more due to stock selection than to his effect on management. These results have broad implications for market efficiency and the implementability of academic factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Frazzini & David Kabiller & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2013. "Buffett's Alpha," NBER Working Papers 19681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19681
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19681.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    2. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    3. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
    4. Black, Fischer, 1972. "Capital Market Equilibrium with Restricted Borrowing," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(3), pages 444-455, July.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Should I buy or should I sell?
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2014-08-07 17:10:56

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    Cited by:

    1. Jank, Stephan & Smajlbegovic, Esad, 2015. "Dissecting short-sale performance: Evidence from large position disclosures," CFR Working Papers 15-15, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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