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Cognitive Abilities and Behavioral Biases

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  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Roider, Andreas
  • Schmitz, Patrick W.

Abstract

We use a simple, three-item test for cognitive abilities to investigate whether established behavioral biases that play a prominent role in behavioral economics and finance are related to cognitive abilities. We find that higher test scores on the Cognitive Reflection Test of Frederick (2005) indeed are correlated with lower incidences of the conjunction fallacy, conservatism in updating probabil-ities, and overconfidence. Test scores are also significantly related to subjects' time and risk preferences. We find no influence on anchoring. However, even if biases are lower for people with higher cognitive abilities, they still remain substantial.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0465.

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Date of creation: 12 May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0465

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Keywords: behavioral finance; biases; cognitive abilities; cognitive reflection test;

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  1. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," NBER Working Papers 5167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas, 2004. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets - An Internet Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 7, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. " Does the Stock Market Rationally Reflect Fundamental Values?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 591-601, July.
  4. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  7. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2006. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 5735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. Abreu, Dilip & Brunnermeier, Markus K., 2002. "Synchronization risk and delayed arbitrage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 341-360.
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  11. Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Cooling-Off in Negotiations - Does It Work?," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  12. Slonim, Robert & Carlson, James & Bettinger, Eric, 2007. "Possession and discounting behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 215-221, December.
  13. Barberis, Nicholas & Thaler, Richard, 2003. "A survey of behavioral finance," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1053-1128 Elsevier.
  14. Shleifer, Andrei, 2000. "Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292272.
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