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Mental Accounting in Portfolio Choice: Evidence from a Flypaper Effect

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  • James J. Choi
  • David Laibson
  • Brigitte C. Madrian

Abstract

Consistent with mental accounting, we document that investors sometimes choose the asset allocation for one account without considering the asset allocation of their other accounts. The setting is a firm that changed its 401(k) matching rules. Initially, 401(k) enrollees chose the allocation of their own contributions, but the firm chose the match allocation. These enrollees ignored the match allocation when choosing their own-contribution allocation. In the second regime, enrollees selected both accounts' allocations, leading them to integrate the two. Own-contribution allocations before the rule change equal the combined own- and match-contribution allocations afterward, whereas combined allocations differ sharply across regimes. (JEL G11, J32)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2085-95

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:2085-95

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.5.2085
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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Holgar Müller & Eike Benjamin Kroll & Bodo Vogt, 2009. "Fact or Artifact Does the compromise effect occur when subjects face real consequences of their choices?," FEMM Working Papers 09009, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  2. Spiegel, Matthew & Zhang, Hong, 2013. "Mutual fund risk and market share-adjusted fund flows," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 506-528.
  3. Luc Christiaensen & Lei Pan, 2010. "Transfers and Development: Easy Come, Easy Go?," Working Paper Series wp2010-125, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2011. "Behavioral economics perspectives on public sector pension plans," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 315-336, April.
  5. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "The Value of School Facilities: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 14516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alexander, Gordon J. & Baptista, Alexandre M., 2011. "Portfolio selection with mental accounts and delegation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2637-2656, October.
  7. Fafchamps, Marcel & McKenzie, David & Quinn, Simon & Woodruff, Christopher, 2014. "Microenterprise growth and the flypaper effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 211-226.
  8. Baptista, Alexandre M., 2012. "Portfolio selection with mental accounts and background risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 968-980.
  9. John Y. Campbell & Howell E. Jackson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Peter Tufano, 2011. "Consumer Financial Protection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 91-114, Winter.
  10. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2011. "Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 16868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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