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Time-varying fund manager skill

Author

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  • Laura Veldkamp

    (NYU Stern)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Veldkamp, 2012. "Time-varying fund manager skill," 2012 Meeting Papers 68, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:68
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 1996. "Market timing ability and volatility implied in investment newsletters' asset allocation recommendations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 397-421, November.
    3. 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, April.
    4. Pastor, Lubos & Stambaugh, Robert F., 2002. "Investing in equity mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 351-380, March.
    5. 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.
    6. Harry Mamaysky & Matthew Spiegel & Hong Zhang, 2008. "Estimating the Dynamics of Mutual Fund Alphas and Betas," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 233-264, January.
    7. Glode, Vincent, 2011. "Why mutual funds "underperform"," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 546-559, March.
    8. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2005. "On the Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1983-2011, August.
    9. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    10. 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.
    11. 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 425-461, June.
    12. Chauvet, Marcelle & Piger, Jeremy, 2008. "A Comparison of the Real-Time Performance of Business Cycle Dating Methods," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 42-49, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services

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