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Mental Accounting in Portfolio Choice: Evidence from a Flypaper Effect

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  • James J. Choi
  • David Laibson
  • Brigitte C. Madrian

Abstract

Consistent with mental accounting, we document that investors sometimes choose the asset allocation for one account without considering the asset allocation of their other accounts. The setting is a firm that changed its 401(k) matching rules. Initially, 401(k) enrollees chose the allocation of their own contributions, but the firm chose the match allocation. These enrollees ignored the match allocation when choosing their own-contribution allocation. In the second regime, enrollees simultaneously selected both accounts’ allocations, leading them to mentally integrate the two. Own-contribution allocations before the rule change equal the combined own- and match-contribution allocations afterwards, whereas combined allocations differ sharply across regimes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13656.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Publication status: published as James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "Mental Accounting in Portfolio Choice: Evidence from a Flypaper Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2085-95, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13656

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Monika Bütler & Stefan Staubli, 2010. "Payouts in Switzerland: Explaining Developments in Annuitization," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-06, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  2. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2008. "The Value of School Facilities: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Papers 1101, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  3. John Y. Campbell & Howell E. Jackson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Peter Tufano, 2011. "Consumer Financial Protection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 91-114, Winter.
  4. Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2011. "Behavioral economics perspectives on public sector pension plans," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 315-336, April.
  5. Alexander, Gordon J. & Baptista, Alexandre M., 2011. "Portfolio selection with mental accounts and delegation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2637-2656, October.
  6. Spiegel, Matthew & Zhang, Hong, 2013. "Mutual fund risk and market share-adjusted fund flows," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 506-528.
  7. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2011. "Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 16868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Baptista, Alexandre M., 2012. "Portfolio selection with mental accounts and background risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 968-980.
  9. Luc Christiaensen & Lei Pan, 2010. "Transfers and Development: Easy Come, Easy Go?," Working Paper Series wp2010-125, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Fafchamps, Marcel & McKenzie, David & Quinn, Simon & Woodruff, Christopher, 2014. "Microenterprise growth and the flypaper effect: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 211-226.
  11. Holgar Müller & Eike Benjamin Kroll & Bodo Vogt, 2009. "Fact or Artifact Does the compromise effect occur when subjects face real consequences of their choices?," FEMM Working Papers 09009, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.

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