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Does Prospect Theory Explain the Disposition Effect?

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  • Hens, Thorsten

    ()
    (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Vlcek, Martin

    ()
    (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich)

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    Abstract

    The disposition effect is the observation that investors hold winning stocks too long and sell losing stocks too early. A standard explanation of the disposition effect refers to prospect theory and in particular to the asymmetric risk aversion according to which investors are risk averse when faced with gains and risk-seeking when faced with losses. We show that for reasonable parameter values the disposition effect can however not be explained by prospect theory as proposed by Kahneman and Tversky. The reason is that those investors who sell winning stocks and hold loosing assets would in the first place not have invested in stocks. That is to say the standard prospect theory argument is sound ex-post, assuming that the investment has taken place, but not ex-ante, requiring that the investment is made in the first place.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2005/18.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: 22 Dec 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2005_018

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    Keywords: Disposition effect; prospect theory; portfolio choice;

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    References

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    1. Berkelaar, A.B. & Kouwenberg, R.R.P., 2000. "Optimal portfolio choice under loss aversion," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2000-08/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    2. Francisco J. Gomes, 2005. "Portfolio Choice and Trading Volume with Loss-Averse Investors," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 675-706, March.
    3. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    4. Weber, Martin & Camerer, Colin F., 1998. "The disposition effect in securities trading: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 167-184, January.
    5. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
    6. Grinblatt, Mark & Keloharju, Matti, 2000. "The investment behavior and performance of various investor types: a study of Finland's unique data set," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 43-67, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. De Giorgi, Enrico & Hens, Thorsten, 2005. "Making Prospect Theory Fit for Finance," Discussion Papers 2005/19, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
    2. Nicholas Barberis & Wei Xiong, 2009. "What Drives the Disposition Effect? An Analysis of a Long-Standing Preference-Based Explanation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 751-784, 04.
    3. Boolell-Gunesh S. & Broihanne M-H. & Merli M., 2008. "Are French Individual Investors reluctant to realize their losses?," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2008-09, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.

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