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Do investors trade too much? A laboratory experiment

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  • da Gama Batista, João
  • Massaro, Domenico
  • Bouchaud, Jean-Philippe
  • Challet, Damien
  • Hommes, Cars

Abstract

We run an experiment to investigate the emergence of excess and synchronised trading activity leading to market crashes. Although the environment clearly favours a buy-and-hold strategy, we observe that subjects trade too much, which is detrimental to their wealth given the implemented market impact (known to them). We find that preference for risk leads to higher activity rates and that price expectations are fully consistent with subjects’ actions. In particular, trading subjects try to make profits by playing a buy low, sell high strategy. Finally, we do not detect crashes driven by collective panic, but rather a weak but significant synchronisation of buy activity.

Suggested Citation

  • da Gama Batista, João & Massaro, Domenico & Bouchaud, Jean-Philippe & Challet, Damien & Hommes, Cars, 2017. "Do investors trade too much? A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 18-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:18-34
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.05.013
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experimental asset markets; Trading volumes; Crashes; Expectations; Risk attitude;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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