This study extends the literature by taking an asset pricing approach to examine whether infrastructure is indeed an asset class or otherwise. The question posed in this study has important implications in portfolio management and to long-term investors (such as pension and superannuation funds).
If infrastructure assets offer superior risk-adjusted returns over and above other asset classes (such as stocks, bonds, real estate, cash) then these investments will become the dominant asset class going forward. Conversely, if infrastructure assets do not exhibit return, risk and correlation characteristics which are not distinguishable from other asset classes then it can be argued that they may be classified as investment substitutes for current investments and they cannot be deemed as an asset class.
Our study presents evidence that global and regional publicly listed infrastructure index returns cannot be considered as a separate asset class. Our results suggest that listed infrastructure does not exhibit sufficient differences in their return, risk and correlations to warrant the classifications a separate asset class.