Hedge Funds: A Survey of the Academic Literature

Foundations and Trends in Finance, Forthcoming

120 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2015

See all articles by Vikas Agarwal

Vikas Agarwal

Georgia State University; University of Cologne - Centre for Financial Research (CFR)

Kevin Mullally

University of Central Florida

Narayan Y. Naik

London Business School - Institute of Finance and Accounting

Date Written: August 25, 2015


Hedge funds have become increasingly important players in financial markets. This heightened importance has spawned a large academic literature focused on issues pertinent to hedge fund managers, investors, regulators, and policymakers. Although the top-4 finance journals (JF, JFE, RFS, and JFQA) published only 16 papers on hedge funds prior to 2005, they have published 105 papers on hedge funds since 2005. As a result, we felt that it is time to update the survey published in 2005. This update prepared with the help of a new coauthor, Kevin Mullally, extends the previous survey along two dimensions. First, it includes reviews of recent studies on topics that were covered in the earlier survey. Second, it summarizes research on new topics that were not part of the previous survey. These new topics cover a broad gamut of issues ranging from hedge funds’ use of leverage and exposure to different risks to their impact on various asset markets.

This survey consists of five broad sections. The first section reviews the literature examining both the time-series and cross-sectional variation in hedge fund performance. Time-series performance studies cover return generating processes, dynamic risk exposures, and determination of managerial skill. The second section covers studies focused on the cross-sectional relations between hedge funds’ characteristics (including contractual features and time-varying features such as size and age) and fund performance. The third section analyzes the literature on the sources and nature of risks faced by hedge fund investors. In particular, we discuss risks that can arise from managerial incentives and sources of capital. The fourth section summarizes research on the role of hedge funds in the financial system. Specific topics here include hedge funds’ impact on systemic risk, asset prices, and liquidity provision in financial markets. The fifth and final section focuses on potential biases and limitations of hedge fund data sources.

Keywords: Hedge Funds, Alternative Investments, Long/Short

JEL Classification: G20, G23, G24, G12

Suggested Citation

Agarwal, Vikas and Mullally, Kevin and Naik, Narayan Y., Hedge Funds: A Survey of the Academic Literature (August 25, 2015). Foundations and Trends in Finance, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2650919

Vikas Agarwal

Georgia State University ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://vagarwal.gsucreate.org/

University of Cologne - Centre for Financial Research (CFR) ( email )

Albertus-Magnus Platz
Cologne, 50923

Kevin Mullally (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

412 CBA
Orlando, FL 32827
United States
407-823-2360 (Phone)

Narayan Y. Naik

London Business School - Institute of Finance and Accounting ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
+44 20 70008223 (Phone)

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