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Individual Decision Making and Investor Welfare

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  • Michael J. Brennan
  • Walter N. Torous

Abstract

type="main" xml:lang="en"> This article analyses and quantifies the costs of suboptimal decision making for an investor with a multi-period horizon. In light of the empirical evidence that investors are too conservative and hold portfolios that are insufficiently diversified, we evaluate the costs of suboptimal equity participation both analytically and using simulation, and also estimate the costs of suboptimal diversification using simulation. We find that suboptimal leverage imposes only modest costs on the investor for reasonable parameter values. While the costs of inadequate diversification can be very high, we find that, because of the higher returns on small firms, an equally weighted portfolio of as few as five randomly chosen firms can provide the same level of expected utility as the value weighted market portfolio. (J.E.L.: G11, G18, G23).

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Brennan & Walter N. Torous, 1999. "Individual Decision Making and Investor Welfare," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(2), pages 119-143, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecnote:v:28:y:1999:i:2:p:119-143
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/1468-0300.00007
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elisabeth Mueller, 2010. "Returns to Private Equity - Idiosyncratic Risk Does Matter!," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 15(3), pages 545-574.
    2. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2011. "$100 Bills on the Sidewalk: Suboptimal Investment in 401(k) Plans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 748-763, August.
    3. Renneboog, L.D.R. & Ter Horst, J.R. & Zhang, C., 2007. "The Price of Ethics : Evidence from Socially Responsible Mutual Funds," Discussion Paper 2007-29, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
    5. Alexander Klos & Martin Weber, 2006. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Non-Tradable Income: An Experimental Analysis," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7, pages 427-448, November.
    6. Mueller, Elisabeth, 2008. "How does owners' exposure to idiosyncratic risk influence the capital structure of private companies?," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 185-198, March.
    7. 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 2085-2095, December.
    8. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "$100 Bills on the Sidewalk: Suboptimal Saving in 401(k) Plans," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000649, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
    10. Víctor M. Adame-García & Fernando Fernández-Rodríguez & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, "undated". "Portfolios in the Ibex 35 index: Alternative methods to the traditional framework, a comparative with the naive diversification in a pre- and post- crisis context," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 2015-07, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico, revised Jun 2015.
    11. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "The Flypaper Effect in Individual Investor Asset Allocation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2560, Yale School of Management.
    12. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
    13. Abudy, Menachem & Benninga, Simon & Shust, Efrat, 2016. "The cost of equity for private firms," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 431-443.
    14. Kristjan Liivamägi, 2015. "Investor Education and Portfolio Diversification on the Stock Market," Research in Economics and Business: Central and Eastern Europe, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, vol. 7(1).
    15. Michele Longo & Alessandra Mainini, 2017. "Welfare effects of information and rationality in portfolio decisions under parameter uncertainty," Papers 1709.04387, arXiv.org.
    16. Alla A. Melkumian, 2006. "The opportunity cost of being constrained by the type of assets: Bonds only or stocks only," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 9, pages 325-343, November.
    17. repec:spt:apfiba:v:8:y:2018:i:3:f:8_3_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Víctor Adame-García & Fernando Fernández-Rodríguez & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, 2017. "“Resolution of optimization problems and construction of efficient portfolios: An application to the Euro Stoxx 50 index"," IREA Working Papers 201702, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Feb 2017.

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