Do (Some) University Endowments Earn Alpha?

62 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2011 Last revised: 7 May 2013

See all articles by Brad M. Barber

Brad M. Barber

University of California, Davis

Guojun Wang

Shanghai Normal University; Tongji University

Date Written: May 7, 2013


We analyze the returns earned by US educational endowments using style attribution models. For the average endowment, models with only public stock and bond benchmarks explain virtually all of the time-series variation in returns, yield no alpha, and generate sensible factor loadings. Elite institutions perform well relative to public stock and bond benchmarks because of large allocations to alternative investments. We find no evidence that manager selection, market timing, and tactical asset allocation generate alpha.

Keywords: University Endowments, Institutional Investors, Private Equity, Hedge Funds

JEL Classification: G2, G23

Suggested Citation

Barber, Brad M. and Wang, Guojun, Do (Some) University Endowments Earn Alpha? (May 7, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Brad M. Barber (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

Graduate School of Management
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
530-752-0512 (Phone)
530-752-2924 (Fax)

Guojun Wang

Shanghai Normal University ( email )

No.100 Guilin Road
Shanghai, 200234

Tongji University ( email )

School of Economics and Management
1239 Siping Rd

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