Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Obfuscation, Learning, and the Evolution of Investor Sophistication

Contents:

Author Info

  • Bruce Ian Carlin
  • Gustavo Manso
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Investor sophistication has lagged behind the growing complexity of retail financial markets. To explore this, we develop a dynamic model to study the interaction between obfuscation and investor sophistication. Taking into account different learning mechanisms within the investor population, we characterize the optimal timing of obfuscation for financial institutions who offer retail products. Obfuscation decreases with competition among firms, but increases with higher investor participation in the market. We show that educational initiatives that are directed to facilitate learning by investors may induce producers to increase wasteful obfuscation, further disorienting investors and decreasing overall welfare.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14954.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14954.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: May 2009
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as Obfuscation, Learning, and the Evolution of Investor Sophistication Bruce Ian Carlin Gustavo Manso Rev. Financ. Stud. (2011) 24 (3): 754-785. doi: 10.1093/rfs/hhq070 First published online: September 2, 2010
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14954

    Note: CF
    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Conlisk, John & Gerstner, Eitan & Sobel, Joel, 1984. "Cyclic Pricing by a Durable Goods Monopolist," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 489-505, August.
    3. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2006. "Baby boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and Housing wealth," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/20, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    4. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and ripoffs: a model of monopolistically competitive price dispersion," Special Studies Papers 94, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Vives, X., 1988. "Nash Equilibrium With Strategic Complementarities," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 107-88, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    6. Sobel, Joel, 1984. "The Timing of Sales," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 353-68, July.
    7. DEBREU, Gérard, . "Economies with a finite set of equilibria," CORE Discussion Papers RP -67, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    8. James J Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C Madrian, 2008. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002014, David K. Levine.
    9. Gabriel D. Carroll & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2009. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1639-1674, November.
    10. Rosenthal, Robert W, 1982. "A Dynamic Oligopoly Game with Lags in Demand: More on the Monotonicity of Price in the Number of Sellers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 353-60, June.
    11. Darrell Duffie & Gustavo Manso, 2007. "Information Percolation in Large Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 203-209, May.
    12. Carlin, Bruce I., 2009. "Strategic price complexity in retail financial markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 278-287, March.
    13. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-59, September.
    14. Ali Hortaç Su & Chad Syverson, 2004. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, And Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of S&P 500 Index Funds," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 403-456, May.
    15. Alexander, Gordon J. & Jones, Jonathan D. & Nigro, Peter J., 1998. "Mutual fund shareholders: characteristics, investor knowledge, and sources of information," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 301-316.
    16. Glenn Ellison & Alexander Wolitzky, 2012. "A search cost model of obfuscation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 417-441, 09.
    17. Robert, Jacques & Stahl, Dale O, II, 1993. "Informative Price Advertising in a Sequential Search Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 657-86, May.
    18. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2003. "Product Differentiation, Search Costs, and Competition in the Mutual Fund Industry: A Case Study of the S&P 500 Index Funds," NBER Working Papers 9728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Carlin, Bruce Ian & Dorobantu, Florin & Viswanathan, S., 2009. "Public trust, the law, and financial investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 321-341, June.
    20. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean & Lu Zheng, 2005. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Effects of Expenses on Mutual Fund Flows," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(6), pages 2095-2120, November.
    21. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14954. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.