Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 1 No. 1 (Summer 1987)


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Anomalies: The January Effect

Article Citation

Thaler, Richard H. 1987. "Anomalies: The January Effect." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1(1): 197-201.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.1.1.197


This feature will report successful searches for disconfirming evidence -- economic anomalies. As suggested by Thomas Kuhn, an economic anomaly is a result inconsistent with the present economics paradigm. Economics is distinguished from other social sciences by the belief that most (all?) behavior can be explained by assuming that agents have stable, well-defined preferences and make rational choices consistent with those preferences in markets that (eventually) clear. An empirical result is anomalous if it is difficult to "rationalize," or if implausible assumptions are necessary to explain it within the paradigm. The first anomaly we will discuss is the "January effect." Stock prices tend to rise in January, particularly the prices of small firms and firms whose stock price has declined substantially over the past few years. Also, risky stocks earn most of their risk premiums in January.

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Thaler, Richard H. (Unlisted)

JEL Classifications

313: Capital Markets--General


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