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Sensation Seeking, Overconfidence, and Trading Activity

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  • MARK GRINBLATT
  • MATTI KELOHARJU

Abstract

This study analyzes the role that two psychological attributes-sensation seeking and overconfidence-play in the tendency of investors to trade stocks. Equity trading data from Finland are combined with data from investor tax filings, driving records, and mandatory psychological profiles. We use these data, obtained from a large population, to construct measures of overconfidence and sensation seeking tendencies. Controlling for a host of variables, including wealth, income, age, number of stocks owned, marital status, and occupation, we find that overconfident investors and those investors most prone to sensation seeking trade more frequently. Copyright (c) 2009 the American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Grinblatt & Matti Keloharju, 2009. "Sensation Seeking, Overconfidence, and Trading Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 549-578, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:64:y:2009:i:2:p:549-578
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001. "Learning to be Overconfident," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
    2. Laurence Weiss, 1979. "Information Aggregation and Policy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 528, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1980. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 393-408, June.
    4. Milgrom, Paul & Stokey, Nancy, 1982. "Information, trade and common knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-27, February.
    5. Richard Deaves & Erik Lüders & Guo Ying Luo, 2009. "An Experimental Test of the Impact of Overconfidence and Gender on Trading Activity," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(3), pages 555-575.
    6. Mark Grinblatt, 2001. "What Makes Investors Trade?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 589-616, April.
    7. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2000. "Trading Is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 773-806, April.
    8. Julie Agnew & Pierluigi Balduzzi & Annika Sundén, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Trading in a Large 401(k) Plan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 193-215, March.
    9. John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Hai Huang, 2009. "Investor Competence, Trading Frequency, and Home Bias," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(7), pages 1094-1106, July.
    10. Grinblatt, Mark & Han, Bing, 2005. "Prospect theory, mental accounting, and momentum," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 311-339, November.
    11. Grinblatt, Mark & Keloharju, Matti, 2000. "The investment behavior and performance of various investor types: a study of Finland's unique data set," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 43-67, January.
    12. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2002. "Online Investors: Do the Slow Die First?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 455-488, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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