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The unexpected and stickiness behavior of institutional investors in index funds

Eddie Sanchez (College of Business, University of South Florida - Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota, Florida, USA)
Junho Oh (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Managerial Finance

ISSN: 0307-4358

Article publication date: 8 September 2020

Issue publication date: 12 January 2021




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the behavior of institutional and retail investors in S&P 500 index funds separately to determine why they behave differently.


We analyze the relationship between net flow and past index-adjusted returns or expense ratios more extensively via panel data regressions across a broad dataset.


We find that the holding of institutional investors is, indeed, sticky. The results indicate that the net flow of institutional investors is not sensitive to past index-adjusted returns of expense ratios.


Prior studies have attempted to explain the irrational behavior of investors in S&P 500 index funds. We attempt to show plausible reasons why they behave differently.



The authors thank an anonymous referee and the Editor for helpful comments and suggestions that greatly improved our paper.


Sanchez, E. and Oh, J. (2021), "The unexpected and stickiness behavior of institutional investors in index funds", Managerial Finance, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 4-35.



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