Discussion of

Learning By Doing: The Value Of Experience And The Origins Of Skill For Mutual Fund Managers by E. Kempf, A. Manconi, and O. Spalt

Stefan Nagel University of Michigan, NBER, CEPR

June 2015

Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Main question & results Industry-specific experience = experience of (relatively) bad industry return while being invested Finding: Managers with more experience in industry A than in B tend to outperform in A more so than in B (Some of it) driven by better buy/sell decisions, especially around earnings announcements

Baseline regression with quarterly alpha estimates (from daily returns) α ˆ m,i,t = am,t + βEm,i,t−1 + θSi,t + m,i,t with experience dummy Em,i,t and contemporaneous negative industry shock dummy Si,t . Huge effects: Experience seems to raise (industry-specific) performance by roughly 100bp per quarter Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Concern 1: Contemporaneous industry shocks dummy Null hypothesis of effect of E on skill would suggest that b = 0 in α ˆ m,i,t = am,t + bEm,i,t−1 + ηm,i,t with Cov(Em,i,t−1 , ηm,i,t ) = 0 But authors include contemporaneous industry shock dummy Si,t , i.e., α ˆ m,i,t = am,t + βEm,i,t−1 − θSi,t + m,i,t with θ > 0 Problem: Cov(Em,i,t−1 , m,i,t ) > 0 if Cov(Em,i,t−1 , Si,t ) > 0 Then β > b.

Example where β > b: Industries heterogeneous in volatility High volatility industries: more likely to show up in the negative tail in the past and in the future Thus, E (which summarizes past S) is positively correlated with future S

Thus: Potentially biased estimates Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Concern 1: Contemporaneous industry shocks in DiD Similar issue in diff-in-diff analysis: Authors test whether alpha of treatment group E [ˆ αm,i,t+j |Si,t = 1, Si,t+j = 0],

j >0

exceeds that of control group E [ˆ αm,i,t+j |Si,t = 0, Si,t+j = 0],

j >0

Conditioning on Si,t+j = 0 – Is this a problem when this is done both for treatment and control group? Yes – if the resulting bias is different for treatment and control group. Example: Industries with different return volatility Treatment group: Experienced big negative shock → More likely to be high volatility → bigger bias Control group: Did not experience big negative shock → Less likely to be high volatility → smaller bias Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Correlation between industry volatility and the number of negative industry shocks

0

No. of neg. ind. shocks 5 10

15

Data: 12 Fama-French industries from 1992q1 to 2012q1

2

4

Stefan Nagel

6 Return S.D.

8

10

Learning By Doing

Correlation between industry volatility and the bias in mean return from excluding negative shock observations

0

Bias from conditioning on no neg. ind. shocks .5 1 1.5 2 2.5

Data: 12 Fama-French industries from 1992q1 to 2012q1

2

4

Stefan Nagel

6 Return S.D.

8

Learning By Doing

10

Concern 2: Industry alpha correlated with industry volatility

Null hypothesis of effect of E on skill would suggest that b = 0 in α ˆ m,i,t = am,t + bEm,i,t−1 + ηm,i,t Could Em,i,t−1 be correlated with ηm,i,t ? Example: High volatility industries have high alphas High volatility industries: more likely to show up in the negative tail in the past and in the future Thus, E (which summarizes past S) is positively correlated with future ηm,i,t

Thus: Potentially biased estimates

Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Correlation between industry volatility and industry market-adjusted return

-1

-.5

Mean return 0

.5

1

Data: 12 Fama-French industries from 1992q1 to 2012q1

2

4

Stefan Nagel

6 Return S.D.

8

Learning By Doing

10

Simulation: Artificial passive industry funds

12 Fama-French industries, 1992q1 - 2012q1 Each quarter start a new fund that invests in equal-weighted portfolio of 12 industries Fund life-time 20 quarters Completely passive, no skill Use data to re-run authors’ regressions with and without inclusion of contemporaneous industry shock dummy

Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Simulation: Regression results

(1) as in the paper, (2) without conditioning on comtemporaneous absence of negative industry shocks

Intercept E S

(1)

(2)

0.58 (5.34) 0.76 (3.19) -11.02 (-16.42)

-0.08 (-0.59) 0.18 (0.60)

t-stats in parentheses, clustering by time

Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Do robustness checks in paper take care of these potential biases? Placebo tests: No Industry return and volatility as control? (Table X) Yes for bias from industry volatility - mean return correlation No for bias from inclusion of contemporaneous S

Industry × date dummies? Yes – completely removes any industry-level effects, but magnitude of effect now drops by 80%! Remaining effect of 22bp per quarter is more plausible

Results on performance of buys vs. sells? Yes – but magnitude of the effect is much smaller (more plausible?) Inexperienced: alpha of buys about 250bp/2 = 125bp Experienced: alpha of buys about 300bp/2 = 150bp

Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Table X: Experience and Omitted Industry-Level Variables The table reports estimates of our baseline model, using the Fama–French–Carhart alpha as the dependent variable, while controlling for additional industry-level variables. In column (1) we control for the current industry return. Column (2) adds 8 lags of industry returns. Columns (3) and (4) include industry return volatility, as well as 8 lags of industry volatility, respectively, as control variables. Industry volatility is defined as the standard deviation of the daily industry returns net of the market return in a given quarter. Column (5) simultaneously includes all previsouly used controls. Column (6) includes industry ⇥ date fixed e↵ects. All regressions include manager ⇥ date fixed e↵ects as well as an indicator function equal to one if there is a shock in the industry of the ISP in the current quarter (coefficient not shown). t-statistics, reported in parentheses, are based on standard errors that allow for clustering around industry ⇥ date.

Do robustness checks in paper take care of this?

Experience Industry Return

(1) 1.233 (4.77) 0.245 (5.46)

(2) 1.091 (4.64) 0.258 (5.80)

Industry Volatility 8 Lags of Industry Return 8 Lags of Industry Volatility Manager ⇥ Date FE Industry ⇥ Date FE N R2

No No Yes No 441,282 0.18

Yes No Yes No 205,960 0.20

Stefan Nagel

(3) 1.240 (5.34)

(4) 1.219 (5.41)

1.368 (1.72) No No Yes No 441,282 0.16

1.238 (0.67) No Yes Yes No 205,960 0.17

Learning By Doing

(5) 1.093 (5.00) 0.267 (6.28) 1.504 (0.82) Yes Yes Yes No 205,960 0.20

(6) 0.220 (2.96)

No No Yes Yes 441,282 0.34

Conclusion Experience effect is probably robust, but current baseline estimates may substantially overstate the magnitude It is important to get the magnitude right in the baseline estimates! Recommendation: Report tests that are robust to these biases as baseline tests Do not condition on contemporaneous S in regressions Use industry × date FE in baseline regression and discuss their importance in the paper Do not condition on absence of S shocks in event window in DiD analysis

Consequence will be smaller magnitudes of effects, but smaller effects are more plausible and easier to reconcile with smaller magnitudes in buy/sell analysis Stefan Nagel

Learning By Doing

Discussion of Learning By Doing: The Value Of ...

Industry-specific experience = experience of (relatively) bad industry return while being invested. Finding: Managers with more experience in industry A than in ... Correlation between industry volatility and the number of negative industry shocks. Data: 12 Fama-French industries from 1992q1 to 2012q1. 0. 5. 10. 15. N o . o.

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