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Participation Constraints in the Stock Market: Evidence from Unexpected Inheritance Due to Sudden Death

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  • Steffen Andersen
  • Kasper Meisner Nielsen

Abstract

We use a natural experiment to investigate the impact of participation constraints on individuals' decisions to invest in the stock market. Unexpected inheritance due to sudden deaths results in exogenous variation in financial wealth, and allows us to examine whether fixed entry and ongoing participation costs cause non-participation. We have three key findings. First, windfall wealth has a positive effect on participation. Second, the majority of households do not react to sizeable windfalls by entering the stock market, but hold on to substantial safe assets--even over longer horizons. Third, the majority of households inheriting stock holdings actively sell the entire portfolio. Overall, these findings suggest that participation by many individuals is unlikely to be constrained by financial participation costs. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 1667-1697

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y:2011:i:5:p:1667-1697

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Cited by:
  1. Steffen Andersen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen, 2012. "Ability or Finances as Constraints on Entrepreneurship? Evidence from Survival Rates in a Natural Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(12), pages 3684-3710.
  2. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Ziegelmeyer, Michael, 2011. "Who lost the most? Financial literacy, cognitive abilities, and the financial crisis," Working Paper Series 1299, European Central Bank.
  3. Khorunzhina, Natalia, 2013. "Structural estimation of stock market participation costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2928-2942.

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