Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Financial Economics


Economics and Finance

Major Professor

M.K. Hassan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

R. Davis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

A. Naka, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

D. Zirek, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

I. Kim, Ph.D.


The following dissertation contains two unique empirical studies that contribute to the overall literature in the field of Financial Economics in the areas of mutual fund investing and financial intermediation and regulation. The first Chapter, entitled “The Impact of Macroeconomic Stress on the U.S. Financial Sector”, examines the relative impact of macroeconomic stress on financial and non-financial U.S. firms. Empirical results show that macroeconomic shocks appear to have a larger impact on financial firms. Additionally, the sensitivity of financial firms to macroeconomic events can be traced to the influence of non-depository institutions, or “shadow banks”, like finance and investment companies, which are less regulated than depository institutions. The results coincide with several trends in the financial sector including increased competition, complexity and interconnectedness and highlight the need for governance mechanisms that account for the risks associated with these factors. The second chapter, entitled “Partial Adjustment Towards Equilibrium Mutual Fund Allocations: Evidence from U.S.-based Equity Mutual Funds”, examines the relative efficiency of equity mutual funds in terms of speed of portfolio adjustment by applying a partial adjustment model. Empirical results show that mutual fund managers are able and willing to quickly adjust their portfolios when results have been sub-optimal, implying that the cost of persistent poor performance is perceived as being high. Managers can offset about 106 percent of the deviation within one period. Additionally, results show that funds that typically engage in the costly production of specialized information, like emerging market and sector funds have more efficient speeds of portfolio adjustment than more passive funds, like market index funds. The results imply that actively managed funds may have efficiency advantages that have been previously ignored in the empirical literature.


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