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Are Investors Naive About Incentives?

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  • Ulrike Malmendier
  • Devin Shanthikumar

Abstract

Traditional economic analysis of markets with asymmetric information assumes that uninformed agents account for the incentives of informed agents to distort information. We analyze whether investors in the stock market internalize such incentives. Stock recommendations of security analysts are likely to be biased upwards, particularly if the issuing analyst is affiliated with the underwriter of the recommended stock. Using the NYSE Trades and Quotations database, we find that large (institutional) traders account for the upward bias and exert no abnormal trade reaction to buy recommendations, and significant selling pressure in response to hold recommendations. Small (individual) traders do not account for the upward shift and exert significantly positive pressure for buys and zero pressure for hold recommendations. Moreover, large traders discount positive recommendations from affiliated analysts more than from unaffiliated analysts, while small traders do not distinguish between them. The naive trading behavior of small investors induces negative abnormal portfolio returns.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10812.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Publication status: published as Malmendier, Ulrike and Devin Shanthikumar. "Are Small Investors Naïve About Incentives?" Journal of Financial Economics 85, 2 (August 2007): 457-489.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10812

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  1. Stefano Della Vigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Contract Design and Self-control: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 353-402, May.
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  5. Lee, Charles M. C. & Radhakrishna, Balkrishna, 2000. "Inferring investor behavior: Evidence from TORQ data," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 83-111, May.
  6. Michaely, Roni & Womack, Kent L, 1999. "Conflict of Interest and the Credibility of Underwriter Analyst Recommendations," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 653-86.
  7. Marco Ottaviani & Francesco Squintani, 2002. "Non-Fully Strategic Information Transmission," Wallis Working Papers WP29, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  8. Lee, Charles M. C., 1992. "Earnings news and small traders : An intraday analysis," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2-3), pages 265-302, August.
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  10. Edward L. Glaeser, 2003. "Psychology and the Market," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2023, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  13. Francis, Jennifer & Douglas Hanna, J. & Philbrick, Donna R., 1997. "Management communications with securities analysts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 363-394, December.
  14. Daniel, Kent & Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2002. "Investor psychology in capital markets: evidence and policy implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 139-209, January.
  15. Ulrike Malmendier & Devin Shanthikumar, 2007. "Do Security Analysts Speak in Two Tongues?," NBER Working Papers 13124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Narasimhan Jegadeesh & Joonghyuk Kim & Susan D. Krische & Charles M. C. Lee, 2004. "Analyzing the Analysts: When Do Recommendations Add Value?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1083-1124, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Ljungqvist, Alexander & Marston, Felicia & Starks, Laura T. & Wei, Kelsey D. & Yan, Hong, 2007. "Conflicts of interest in sell-side research and the moderating role of institutional investors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 420-456, August.
  2. Loh, Roger K. & Stulz, Rene M., 2009. "When Are Analyst Recommendation Changes Influential?," Working Paper Series 2009-7, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  3. Mehran, Hamid & Stulz, Rene M., 2006. "The Economics of Conflicts of Interest in Financial Institutions," Working Paper Series 2006-21, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.

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