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The curious case of negative volatility

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  • Merkle, Christoph

Abstract

In a panel survey of brokerage clients in the United Kingdom, participants mostly perceive their own portfolio as no more volatile than the market portfolio. Taking into account observed portfolio betas, this implies a belief in very low idiosyncratic portfolio volatility, which is even negative for a considerable fraction of the studied investor population. Possible explanations are extreme overconfidence in combination with a misunderstanding of how market and portfolio volatility are related. The identified bias contributes to underdiversification, as a belief in negative idiosyncratic volatility conceals the true benefits of diversification. In an experiment, we confirm the existence of a belief in negative volatility and rule out the underestimation of beta as an alternative explanation.

Suggested Citation

  • Merkle, Christoph, 2018. "The curious case of negative volatility," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 92-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finmar:v:40:y:2018:i:c:p:92-108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.finmar.2017.11.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Ungeheuer, Michael & Weber, Martin, 2016. "The Perception of Dependence, Investment Decisions, and Stock Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 11585, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Huber, Jürgen & Palan, Stefan & Zeisberger, Stefan, 2019. "Does investor risk perception drive asset prices in markets? Experimental evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    3. Christian Ehm & Christine Laudenbach & Martin Weber, 2018. "Focusing on volatility information instead of portfolio weights as an aid to investor decisions," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(2), pages 457-480, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk perception; Volatility; Overconfidence; Miscalibration; Diversification;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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