Economic Policy Review

Market Returns and Mutual Fund Flows

July 1997Volume 3, Number 2
JEL classification: E44, G14, G23

Authors: Eli M. Remolona, Paul Kleiman, and Debbie Gruenstein

With the increased popularity of mutual funds come increased concerns. Namely, could a sharp drop in stock and bond prices set off a cascade of redemptions by mutual fund investors and could the redemptions exert further downward pressure on asset markets? The authors analyze this relationship by using instrumental variables—a measuring technique previously unapplied to market returns and mutual fund flows—to determine the effect of returns on flows. Despite market observers’ fears of a downward spiral in asset prices, the authors conclude that the short-term effect of market returns on mutual fund flows typically has been too weak to sustain such a spiral.

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