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Time-varying fund manager skill

  • Laura Veldkamp

    (NYU Stern)

The literature assessing whether mutual fund managers have skill typically regards skill as an immutable attribute of the manager or the fund. We show that many measures of skill, such as returns, alphas, and measures of stock-picking and market-timing, appear to vary over the business cycle. We argue that skill is a general cognitive ability that is applied to different tasks, such as picking stocks or market timing. Using tools from the rational inattention literature, the theory shows that the relative value of these tasks varies cyclically. It generates indirect predictions for the dispersion and returns of fund portfolios that distinguish this explanation from others and which are supported by the data. In turn, these findings offer useful evidence to support the notion of rational attention allocation.

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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_68.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 68.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:68
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Glode, Vincent, 2011. "Why mutual funds "underperform"," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 546-559, March.
  2. Wayne Ferson & Kenneth Khang, 2002. "Conditional Performance Measurement Using Portfolio Weights: Evidence for Pension Funds," NBER Working Papers 8790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Matthew Spiegel & Harry Mamaysky & Hong Zhang, 2005. "Estimating the Dynamics of Mutual Fund Alphas and Betas," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm353, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Apr 2005.
  4. John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey, 1994. "Market Timing Ability and Volatility Implied in Investment Newletters' Asset Allocation Recommendations," NBER Working Papers 4890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Marcin Kacperczyk & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Laura Veldkamp, 2009. "Rational Attention Allocation Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 15450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Grinblatt, Mark & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. "Performance Measurement without Benchmarks: An Examination of Mutual Fund Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 47-68, January.
  8. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  9. 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.
  10. Pastor, Lubos & Stambaugh, Robert F., 2002. "Investing in equity mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 351-380, March.
  11. Marcelle Chauvet & Jeremy M. Piger, 2005. "A comparison of the real-time performance of business cycle dating methods," Working Papers 2005-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Ferson, Wayne E & Schadt, Rudi W, 1996. " Measuring Fund Strategy and Performance in Changing Economic Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 425-61, June.
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