I am an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Gatton College of Business and Economics of the University of Kentucky. My research spans two areas of finance: entrepreneurship and asset management. A unifying theme across my work is the identification of issues that calls for the action of policymakers in order to improve the conditions of the less empowered.
Prior to joining UK. I recived a PhD in Finance from UC Berkeley, a MASc in Economics from the University of São Paulo, and a BA in Mathematics from the University of São Paulo .
with Martin Lettau and Sydney Ludvigson
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of portfolios of active mutual funds, ETFs and hedge funds through the lens of risk (anomaly) factors. We show that that these funds do not systematically tilt their portfolios towards profitable factors, such as high book-to-market (BM) ratios, high momentum, small size, high profitability and low investment growth. Strikingly, there are almost no high-BM funds in our sample while there are many low-BM “growth” funds. Portfolios of “growth” funds are concentrated in low BM-stocks but “value” funds hold stocks across the entire BM spectrum. In fact, most “value” funds hold a higher proportion of their portfolios in low-BM (“growth”) stocks than in high-BM (“value”) stocks. While there are some micro/small/mid-cap funds, the vast majority of mutual funds hold very large stocks. But the distributions of mutual fund momentum, profitability and investment growth are concentrated around market average with little variation across funds. The characteristics distributions of ETFs and hedge funds do not differ significantly from the those of mutual funds. We conclude that the characteristics of mutual fund portfolios raises a number of questions about why funds do not exploit well-known return premia and how their portfolio choices affects asset prices in equilibrium.
with Igor Cunha
We study how politicians' compensation affects the real economy. Specifically, we investigate the effect of legislators' wages on business activity in Brazil. We identify our results using a constitutional amendment that established salary caps for legislators in a given municipality based on arbitrary population cutoffs. We find that higher politician wages are associated with increases in firm and job creation and firms' average startup investments. Better paid legislators increase the municipality's budget surplus while increasing expenditure in items that increase local economic productivity. Our evidence highlights the potential adverse effects on the private sector of lowering politicians' salaries.
with Adair Morse and Alexander Dyck
R&R Review of Financial Studies
We model public pension funds that contract with investment managers and the resulting portfolio allocation and performance. Frictions in optimal contracting emerge from board members’ sensitivity to employee and public outrage over high compensation. In global data covering $5.4 trillion in assets, we estimate a system of compensation and returns equations. Relaxing outrage constraints by one standard deviation results in $81,000-$179,000 more compensation, and $13-32 million of incremental value-add annually for an average public pension fund (15-35 bps excess performance in alternatives and 8-18 bps in public equities). Outrage is orthogonal to distortions from underfunding and political payoffs to local investment.
Can regions with prevalent violent and property crimes promote business by reducing crime rates through law enforcement? Using exogenous state-level police strikes in Brazil, I show that a short-term decrease in the police force leads to an increase in crime rates and a reduction in business activity. Taken together with the finding of the crime literature that lower business activity leads to more crimes, this implies a feedback loop between crime and business, suggesting the existence of multiple Pareto-ranked equilibria. I use the introduction of a law enforcement program called the Pacifying Police Units in the Rio de Janeiro city to provide evidence that a substantial (yet temporary) police shock can create a persistent reduction in crime and a persistent increase in entrepreneurship, consistent with a shift away from the undesirable high-crime low-business equilibrium.