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Infrastructure: Real Assets and Real Returns

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Abstract

Little empirical work has been done on the return properties of infrastructure as an asset class despite increased allocations by institutional investors. Managers claim infrastructure investments offer real return benefits via a combination of monopolistic and defensive assets. We build a robust factor model of infrastructure returns and estimate the model using U.S. and Australian infrastructure and utility data. We find evidence of excess returns and inflation hedging, but not of defensive characteristics during equity market downturns. We also compare the performance of regulated infrastructure assets to option-based models designed to synthetically replicate infrastructure asset returns, and identify the regulatory risk premium (the premium for government regulation of infrastructure investments). We find that the returns from infrastructure have outperformed option-based replicating strategies over the period from 1995-2009 in Australia, for historical reasons. Finally, we suggest how improved defensive and inflation hedging characteristics can be obtained using a combination of inflation linked bonds and covered call strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Bird & Harry Liem & Susan Thorp, 2011. "Infrastructure: Real Assets and Real Returns," Working Paper Series 11, The Paul Woolley Centre for Capital Market Dysfunctionality, University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Handle: RePEc:uts:pwcwps:11
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    File URL: http://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/wp11.pdf
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    2. Soosung Hwang & Pa Mitchell & Soosung Hwang & Paul Mitchell, 2007. "Will Private Equity and Hedge Funds Replace Real Estate in Mixed-Asset Portfolios?," ERES eres2007_154, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
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    4. Bitsch, Florian & Buchner, Axel & Kaserer, Christoph, 2010. "Risk, return and cash flow characteristics of infrastructure fund investments," EIB Papers 4/2010, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
    5. Ron Bird & Harry Liem & Susan Thorp, 2011. "Private Equity: Strategies for Improving Performance," Working Paper Series 12, The Paul Woolley Centre for Capital Market Dysfunctionality, University of Technology, Sydney.
    6. Ron Bird & Susan Thorp, 2010. "Hedge Fund Excess Returns Under Time-Varying Beta," Working Paper Series 9, The Paul Woolley Centre for Capital Market Dysfunctionality, University of Technology, Sydney.
    7. Fama, Eugene F. & Schwert, G. William, 1977. "Asset returns and inflation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 115-146, November.
    8. Georg Inderst, 2009. "Pension Fund Investment in Infrastructure," OECD Working Papers on Insurance and Private Pensions 32, OECD Publishing.
    9. repec:arz:wpaper:eres2007-154 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Gary Gorton & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2004. "Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures," NBER Working Papers 10595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel J Power & Charli D. Tandja M. & Josée Bastien & Philippe Grégoire, 2015. "Measuring infrastructure investment option value," Journal of Risk Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 16(1), pages 49-72, January.
    2. Ben Ammar, Semir & Eling, Martin, 2013. "Common Risk Factors of Infrastructure Firms," Working Papers on Finance 1307, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    3. Nadine Gatzert & Thomas Kosub, 2014. "Insurers’ Investment in Infrastructure: Overview and Treatment under Solvency II," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 39(2), pages 351-372, April.
    4. Ben Ammar, Semir & Eling, Martin, 2015. "Common risk factors of infrastructure investments," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 257-273.
    5. Wouter Thierie & Lieven Moor, 2016. "The characteristics of infrastructure as an investment class," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 30(3), pages 277-297, August.
    6. repec:kap:fmktpm:v:31:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11408-017-0286-z is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inflation hedging; regulatory risk premium; infrastructure assets;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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