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Should Benchmark Indices Have Alpha? Revisiting Performance

Author

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  • Martijn Cremers
  • Antti Petajisto
  • Eric Zitzewitz

Abstract

Standard Fama-French and Carhart models produce economically and statistically significant nonzero alphas even for passive benchmark indices such as the S&P 500 and Russell 2000. We find that these alphas primarily arise from the disproportionate weight the Fama-French factors place on small value stocks which have performed well, and from the CRSP value-weighted market index which is historically a downward-biased benchmark for U.S. stocks. We explore alternative ways to construct these factors and propose alternative models constructed from common and easily tradable benchmark indices. The index-based models outperform the standard models in common applications such as performance evaluation of mutual fund managers.

Suggested Citation

  • Martijn Cremers & Antti Petajisto & Eric Zitzewitz, 2008. "Should Benchmark Indices Have Alpha? Revisiting Performance," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2452, Yale School of Management, revised 26 Jan 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:amz2452
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    File URL: http://icfpub.som.yale.edu/publications/2452
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Babalos, Vassilios & Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Philippas, Nikolaos, 2015. "Gender, style diversity, and their effect on fund performance," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 57-74.
    2. Diane Del Guercio & Jonathan Reuter, 2014. "Mutual Fund Performance and the Incentive to Generate Alpha," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(4), pages 1673-1704, August.
    3. Basu, Anup K. & Huang-Jones, Jason, 2015. "The performance of diversified emerging market equity funds," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 116-131.
    4. Borgers, A.C.T., 2014. "Responsible investing : New insights into performance and tastes," Other publications TiSEM 587e777f-c242-4a44-968e-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Elton, Edwin J. & Gruber, Martin J., 2013. "Mutual Funds," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.
    6. Bauer, R.M.M.J. & Cremers, K.J.M. & Frehen, R.G.P., 2010. "Pension Fund Performance and Costs: Small is Beautiful," MPRA Paper 23556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Geetesh Bhardwaj & Gary B. Gorton & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2008. "Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: The Inefficient Performance and Persistence of Commodity Trading Advisors," NBER Working Papers 14424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ekholm, Anders G., 2012. "Portfolio returns and manager activity: How to decompose tracking error into security selection and market timing," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 349-358.
    9. Angelidis, Timotheos & Giamouridis, Daniel & Tessaromatis, Nikolaos, 2013. "Revisiting mutual fund performance evaluation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1759-1776.
    10. repec:bla:eufman:v:21:y:2015:i:1:p:106-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Carmen-Pilar Mart¨ª-Ballester, 2012. "A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Collective Investment Institutions," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 43-52, May.
    12. repec:eee:jbfina:v:85:y:2017:i:c:p:15-29 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    performance evaluation; benchmark index; factor model; Fama-French; Carhart;

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • 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
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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