Journal Article

A reappraisal of luck versus skill in the cross-section of mutual fund returns


The first contribution we make to research on measuring U.S. mutual fund performance is to show that the cross-section bootstrap procedure used in one prominent publication on this topic can easily accommodate conditional asset pricing models. Using this result, we reestimate US fund performance using the conditional asset pricing model of Ferson and Schadt (1996) for the period of time covering January 1984 to September 2006, the same period of time used in this prominent publication. Unlike most of the current research on the performance of U.S. mutual funds, including the latter research, the estimates of fund performance produced here suggest that some funds, on a net return basis, performed very well over this period. Our second contribution is to update the U.S. mutual fund data to the end of 2018 and then to re-estimate fund performance over this longer period of time. These results show that fund performance, on a net return basis, is poor, confirming the findings of previous research that used data ending before 2018. The third contribution is to provide a detailed guide on how the mutual fund data widely used in this literature is constructed. Until now much of the information required to do this has not been made widely available. Our last contribution is to make some policy recommendations that should better align fund manager incentives with the interests of investors, an alignment which current practices have hindered.

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Huang Rong
Asteriou, Dimitrios
Pouliot, William

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford School of Hospitality Management


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-04-01

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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