Rational Attention Allocation over the Business Cycle

63 Pages Posted: 29 May 2009 Last revised: 15 Aug 2012

See all articles by Marcin T. Kacperczyk

Marcin T. Kacperczyk

Imperial College London - Accounting, Finance, and Macroeconomics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Columbia University Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); ABFER

Laura Veldkamp

Columbia University - Columbia Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 14, 2012

Abstract

The literature assessing whether mutual fund managers have skill typically regards market timing or stock picking skills as immutable attributes of a manager or fund. Yet, measures of these skills appear to vary over the business cycle. This paper offers a rational explanation, arguing that timing and picking are tasks. A skilled manager can choose how much of each task to attend to. Using tools from the rational inattention literature, we show that in booms, a manger should pick stocks and in recessions, he should pay more attention to his market timing. The model predicts equilibrium outcomes in a world where a fraction of managers have skill and invest alongside unskilled investors. The predictions about funds' covariance with payoff shocks, cross-fund dispersion, and their excess returns are all supported by the data. In turn, these findings offer new evidence to support two broader ideas: that some investment managers have skill and that attention is allocated rationally.

Keywords: information choice, investment management, business cycle

JEL Classification: D8, E32, G11, G12, G14, G23

Suggested Citation

Kacperczyk, Marcin T. and Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn and Veldkamp, Laura, Rational Attention Allocation over the Business Cycle (August 14, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1411367 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1411367

Marcin T. Kacperczyk

Imperial College London - Accounting, Finance, and Macroeconomics ( email )

South Kensington campus
London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh (Contact Author)

Columbia University Graduate School of Business ( email )

3022 Broadway
Uris Hall 809
New York, NY New York 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/svannieuwerburgh/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

ABFER ( email )

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Singapore

Laura Veldkamp

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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