Implicit Incentives and Reputational Herding by Hedge Fund Managers

37 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2006 Last revised: 4 Dec 2012

See all articles by Nicole M. Boyson

Nicole M. Boyson

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Date Written: June 1, 2010


Several theories of reputation suggest that managers' incentives affect their propensity to engage in herding behavior. This paper investigates these theories by tracking hedge fund managers' herding behavior over their careers. I first examine managerial incentives for herding, and show that more senior managers that deviate from the herd have a significantly higher probability of failure and do not experience higher fund inflows than their less-senior counterparts. These implicit incentives should encourage managers to herd more as their careers progress. I find strong support for this hypothesis: using a number of proxies for herding, I show that more experienced managers herd more than less-experienced managers. Finally, I examine performance differences between more and less-experienced managers, and find that while more experienced managers underperform less-experienced managers, this underperformance does not appear to be caused by differences in herding. Overall, these results are in direct contrast with studies of mutual fund managers, reflecting important difference in implicit incentives between the two industries.

Keywords: hedge funds, hedge fund, career concerns, risk

JEL Classification: G12

Suggested Citation

Boyson, Nicole M., Implicit Incentives and Reputational Herding by Hedge Fund Managers (June 1, 2010). Journal of Empirical Finance, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Nicole M. Boyson (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
617-373-4775 (Phone)

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