Behavioral Finance I
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM
- Chair: Martin Schmalz, University of Michigan
A Tough Act to Follow: Contrast Effects in Financial Markets
AbstractA contrast effect occurs when the value of a previously-observed signal inversely biases perception of the next signal. We present the first evidence that contrast effects can distort prices in sophisticated and liquid markets. Investors mistakenly perceive earnings news today as more impressive if yesterday’s earnings surprise was bad and less impressive if yesterday’s surprise was good. A unique advantage of our financial setting is that we can identify contrast effects as an error in perceptions rather than expectations. Finally, we show that our results cannot be explained by a key alternative explanation involving information transmission from previous earnings announcements.
Financial Loss Aversion Illusion
AbstractWe test the proposition that investors' ability to cope with financial losses is much better than they expect. In a panel survey with real investors from a large UK bank, we ask for subjective ratings of anticipated returns and experienced returns. The time period covered by the panel (2008-2010), with frequent losses and gains in the portfolios of investors, provides the required background to analyze the involved hedonic experiences. We examine how the subjective ratings behave relative to expected portfolio returns and experienced portfolio returns. Loss aversion is strong for anticipated outcomes with investors reacting over twice as sensitive to negative expected returns as to positive expected returns. However, when evaluating experienced returns, the effect diminishes by more than half and is well below commonly found loss aversion coefficients. It seems that a large part of investors' financial loss aversion results from a projection bias.
Thinking about Prices versus Thinking about Returns in Financial Markets
AbstractPrices and returns are alternative ways to present information and to elicit expectations in financial markets. But do investors make sense of prices and returns in the same way? This paper presents three studies with subjects of varying expertise, with various amounts of information and with different incentive schemes. The results are consistent across all studies: Asking subjects to forecast returns as opposed to prices results in higher expectations, whereas showing them return charts as opposed to price charts results in lower expectations. Experience is not a useful remedy but Cognitive Reflection mitigates the impact of format changes.
- G1 - Asset Markets and Pricing