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Closed-end Fund Discounts and Interest Rates: Positive Covariance in US Data after 1985, by Sean M. Flynn (September 2005)

Previous papers find no relationship between interest rates and the discounts of US closed-end funds before 1985. This is taken as evidence against management fees being a cause of discounts because a negative relationship is expected: if interest rates rise, you would expect to see discounts fall as the present value of future fees is reduced. But from 1985 forward, there has been a strong positive relationship between interest rates and fees. This supports an alternative view in which the discount varies positively with interest rates because bond yields are an alternative return against which closed-end funds must compete.

Key words: Closed-end funds, Interest Rates JEL classification: G11, G12, G14

Working Paper (233 K, PDF)