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The Endowment Model and Modern Portfolio Theory

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  • Stephen G. Dimmock
  • Neng Wang
  • Jinqiang Yang

Abstract

We develop a dynamic portfolio-choice model with illiquid alternative assets to analyze the “endowment model,” popularized by university endowment funds. The alternative asset has a lock-up, but can be liquidated prior to the lock-up's expiration by paying a proportional cost. The quantitative results match the average level and cross-sectional variation of endowments' spending and asset allocation decisions. Asset allocation and spending depend on the alternative asset's expected excess return, unspanned risk, and preferences for inter-temporal smoothing. We extend the model to allow crisis states, and show that increased illiquidity during crises causes holdings to deviate significantly from targets allocations.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen G. Dimmock & Neng Wang & Jinqiang Yang, 2019. "The Endowment Model and Modern Portfolio Theory," NBER Working Papers 25559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25559
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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