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Information Cascades: Evidence From A Field Experiment With Financial Market Professionals

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  • Alevy, Jonathan E.
  • Haigh, Michael S.
  • List, John A.

Abstract

In settings characterized by imperfect information about an underlying state of nature, but where inferences are made sequentially and are publicly observable, decisions may yield a "cascade" in which everyone herds on a single choice. While cascades potentially play a role in a variety of settings, from technology adoption to social processes such as mate selection, understanding cascade phenomena is imperative for financial markets. Previous empirical efforts studying cascade formation have used both naturally occurring data and laboratory experiments. In this paper, we combine one of the attractive elements of each line of research-observation of market professionals in a controlled environment-to push the investigation of cascade behavior into several new directions. Numerous empirical insights are obtained; perhaps most importantly, we find that market professionals behave quite differently than a control group of student subjects. In particular, market professionals, more so than students, base their decisions on the "quality" of the public signal, leading them to be more likely to disregard "bad" signals. And, unlike in the case with students, for market professionals, the propensity to be Bayesian does not differ significantly across the gain and loss domains. These results have important implications in both a positive and normative sense.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 28608.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umdrwp:28608

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Keywords: Financial Economics;

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References

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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  2. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
  3. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion And Seller Behavior: Evidence From The Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260, November.
  4. John List, 2004. "Neoclassical theory versus prospect theory: Evidence from the marketplace," Framed Field Experiments 00174, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Eugene F Fama, . "Market Efficiency, Long-Term Returns, and Behavioral Finance," CRSP working papers 448, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  6. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
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  8. Anne Jansen & Donald J. Mathieson & Barry J. Eichengreen & Laura E. Kodres & Bankim Chadha & Sunil Sharma, 1998. "Hedge Funds and Financial Market Dynamics," IMF Occasional Papers 166, International Monetary Fund.
  9. E.K. Berndt & B.H. Hall & R.E. Hall, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 103-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  11. Fox, Craig R & Rogers, Brett A & Tversky, Amos, 1996. "Options Traders Exhibit Subadditive Decision Weights," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 5-17, July.
  12. Kent D. Daniel, 2001. "Overconfidence, Arbitrage, and Equilibrium Asset Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(3), pages 921-965, 06.
  13. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  14. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
  15. Frédéric KOESSLER & Anthony ZIEGELMEYER, 2000. "Tie-breaking Rules and Informational Cascades: A Note," Working Papers of BETA 2000-09, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  16. Sunil Sharma & Sushil Bikhchandani, 2000. "herd Behavior in Financial Markets - A Review," IMF Working Papers 00/48, International Monetary Fund.
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