A Survey of University Endowment Management Research

Publikation: Working/Discussion PaperWorking Paper/Preprint


Along with other institutional investors, there is significant interest in how university endowments manage money and perform. Given the rapid growth in endowments both in terms of numbers as well as valuation, there is an emerging strand of finance research that specializes in them. The purpose of this paper is to survey and review the state-of-the-art in this field. We classify papers into four areas. (1) organization, which pertains to governance structure and the investment policy statement; (2) asset allocation, where we discuss the main theoretical framework and the relevant observations both across time and for type of endowment; (3) performance, in which (risk-adjusted) performance is discussed and distinguished by type and size of endowment; (4) spending, which discusses the relation to the classical views and theoretical literature as well as what university endowments do in practice. We find that the modern framework for theoretical and empirical analysis can provide a very useful perspective for understanding the role of endowments. Nonetheless we highlight areas where much work remains to be done such as governance and links between asset allocation and spending policies.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2013