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Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives

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  • Judith A. Chevalier
  • Glenn D. Ellison

Abstract

This paper examines the agency conflict between mutual fund investors and mutual fund companies. Investors would like the fund company to use its judgement to maximize risk-adjusted fund returns. A fund company, however, in its desire to maximize its value as a concern has an incentive to take actions which increase the inflow of investment. We use a semiparametric model to estimate the shape of the flow-performance relationship for a sample of growth and growth and income funds observed over the 1982-1992 period. The shape of the flow-performance relationship creates incentives for fund managers to increase or decrease the riskiness of the fund which are dependent on the fund's year-to-date return. Using a new dataset of mutual fund portfolios which includes equity portfolio holdings for September and December of the same year, we show that mutual funds do alter their portfolio riskiness between September and December in a manner consistent with these risk incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5234
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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