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Stocks as Lotteries: The Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices

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  • Nicholas Barberis
  • Ming Huang
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    Abstract

    We study the asset pricing implications of Tversky and Kahneman's (1992) cumulative prospect theory, with particular focus on its probability weighting component. Our main result, derived from a novel equilibrium with non-unique global optima, is that, in contrast to the prediction of a standard expected utility model, a security's own skewness can be priced: a positively skewed security can be "overpriced," and can earn a negative average excess return. Our results offer a unifying way of thinking about a number of seemingly unrelated financial phenomena, such as the low average return on IPOs, private equity, and distressed stocks; the diversification discount; the low valuation of certain equity stubs; the pricing of out-of-the-money options; and the lack of diversification in many household portfolios.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12936.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2007
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    Publication status: published as Barberis, Nicholas and Ming Huang. "Stocks as Lotteries: The Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices." American Economic Review 98, 5 (2008): 2006-2100.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12936

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    1. Kane, Alex, 1982. "Skewness Preference and Portfolio Choice," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 15-25, March.
    2. Paul Schultz, 2003. "Pseudo Market Timing and the Long-Run Underperformance of IPOs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 483-518, 04.
    3. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
    4. Owen A. Lamont & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-outs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 227-268, April.
    5. John Y. Campbell & Jens Hilscher & Jan Szilagyi, 2005. "In Searach of Distress Risk," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2081, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Epstein, Larry G. & Zin, Stanley E., 1990. "'First-order' risk aversion and the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 387-407, December.
    7. William N. Goetzmann & Alok Kumar, 2005. "Why Do Individual Investors Hold Under-Diversified Portfolios?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm454, Yale School of Management.
    8. Lang, Larry H P & Stulz, Rene M, 1994. "Tobin's q, Corporate Diversification, and Firm Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1248-80, December.
    9. Benartzi, Shlomo & Thaler, Richard H, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, February.
    10. Dahlquist, Magnus & de Jong, Frank, 2004. "Pseudo Market Timing: Fact or Fiction?," SIFR Research Report Series 24, Institute for Financial Research.
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    12. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2005. "Optimal Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1092-1118, September.
    13. Valery Polkovnichenko, 2005. "Household Portfolio Diversification: A Case for Rank-Dependent Preferences," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1467-1502.
    14. Nicolas P. B. Bollen & Robert E. Whaley, 2004. "Does Net Buying Pressure Affect the Shape of Implied Volatility Functions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 711-753, 04.
    15. Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1976. "Skewness Preference and the Valuation of Risk Assets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1085-1100, September.
    16. Berger, Philip G. & Ofek, Eli, 1995. "Diversification's effect on firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 39-65, January.
    17. Campbell R. Harvey & Akhtar Siddique, 2000. "Conditional Skewness in Asset Pricing Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1263-1295, 06.
    18. Ritter, Jay R, 1991. " The Long-run Performance of Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 3-27, March.
    19. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory And Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53, February.
    20. Brunnermeier, Markus & Gollier, Christian & Parker, Jonathan, 2007. "Optimal Beliefs, Asset Prices, and the Preference for Skewed Returns," IDEI Working Papers 429, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    21. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Individual Preferences, Monetary Gambles, and Stock Market Participation: A Case for Narrow Framing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1069-1090, September.
    22. Mark Mitchell & Todd Pulvino & Erik Stafford, 2002. "Limited Arbitrage in Equity Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 551-584, 04.
    23. Haim Levy & Enrico De Giorgi & Thorsten Hens, . "Prospect Theory and the CAPM: A contradiction or coexistence?," IEW - Working Papers 157, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    24. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2009. "Carry Trades and Currency Crashes," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 313-347 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2008. "Financial Literacy and Portfolio Diversification," EIEF Working Papers Series 0812, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2008.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Paolo Sodini, 2012. "Household Finance. An Emerging Field," EIEF Working Papers Series 1204, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Mar 2012.
    4. Geetesh Bhardwaj & Gary Gorton & K. Rouwenhorst, 2008. "Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: The Inefficient Performance and Persistence of Commodity Trading Advisors," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2429, Yale School of Management.
    5. Cécile Carpentier & Douglas Cumming & Jean-Marc Suret, 2009. "The Value of Capital Market Regulation: IPOs versus Reverse Mergers," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-06, CIRANO.

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