Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department

Finance and Quantitative Methods

First Advisor

Dr. Bradford Jordan

Abstract

This dissertation consists of three essays on investments. The first essay examines the incidence, determinants, and consequences of hedge fund share restriction changes. This paper finds that nearly one in five hedge funds change their share restrictions (e.g., lockup) over the period of 2007-2012. Share restriction changes are not random. Fund’s asset illiquidity, liquidity risk, and performance are related to share restriction changes. A hazard model indicates that funds who actively manage liquidity concerns live longer by adjusting share restrictions. The paper examines whether changes in share restrictions create an endogeneity bias in the share illiquidity premium (Aragon, 2007) and find that 18% of the premium can be explained by the dynamic nature of contract changes.

The second essay examines why mutual funds appear to underperform hedge funds. Utilizing a unique panel of mutual fund contracts changes, this paper explores several possible channels, including: alternative investment practices (e.g., short sales and leverage), performance-based compensation, and the ability to restrict the funding risk of fund flows. This paper documents that over our sample period, mutual funds were more likely to shift their contracting environment closer to that of hedge funds. However, this shift provided no benefit to mutual funds and the paper finds no causal link between these contract changes and improvements in performance. Rather, this paper casts doubt on the binding nature of investment restrictions in the mutual fund industry.

The third essay examines whether the 52-week high effect (George and Hwang, 2004) can be explained by risk factors. The paper finds that it is more consistent with investor underreaction caused by anchoring bias: the presumably more sophisticated institutional investors suffer less from this bias and buy (sell) stocks close to (far from) their 52-week highs. Further, the effect is mainly driven by investor underreaction to industry instead of firm-specific information. The 52-week high strategy works best among stocks whose values are more affected by industry factors. The 52-week high strategy based on industry measurement is more profitable than the one based on idiosyncratic measurement.

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