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Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis

  • MICHAEL S. HAIGH
  • JOHN A. LIST

Two behavioral concepts, loss aversion and mental accounting, have been combined to provide a theoretical explanation of the equity premium puzzle. Recent experimental evidence supports the theory, as students' behavior has been found to be consistent with myopic loss aversion (MLA). Yet, much like certain anomalies in the realm of riskless decision-making, these behavioral tendencies may be attenuated among professionals. Using traders recruited from the CBOT, we do indeed find behavioral differences between professionals and students, but rather than discovering that the anomaly is muted, we find that traders exhibit behavior consistent with MLA to a "greater" extent than students. Copyright 2005 by The American Finance Association.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-6261.2005.00737.x
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Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal The Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 60 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 523-534

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:60:y:2005:i:1:p:523-534
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  1. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, 03.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
  3. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
  4. Richard Thaler, 1985. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 199-214.
  5. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  6. John A. List, 2002. "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The "More Is Less" Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1636-1643, December.
  7. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71.
  8. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  9. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
  10. Uri Gneezy & Arie Kapteyn & Jan Potters, 2002. "Evaluation Periods and Assett Prices in a Market Experiment," Working Papers 02-02, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  11. Gollier, Christian & Lindsey, John & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 1997. "Investment Flexibility and the Acceptance of Risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 219-241, October.
  12. Theodore W. Schultz, 1962. "Reflections on Investment in Man," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1.
  13. Locke, Peter R. & Mann, Steven C., 2005. "Professional trader discipline and trade disposition," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 401-444, May.
  14. Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1997. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Other publications TiSEM da6ba1bf-e15c-41b2-ae95-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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