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Inverse statistics in economics: the gain–loss asymmetry


  • Jensen, Mogens H.
  • Johansen, Anders
  • Simonsen, Ingve


Inverse statistics in economics is considered. We argue that the natural candidate for such statistics is the investment horizons distribution. This distribution of waiting times needed to achieve a predefined level of return is obtained from (often detrended) historic asset prices. Such a distribution typically goes through a maximum at a time called the optimal investment horizon, τρ∗, since this defines the most likely waiting time for obtaining a given return ρ. By considering equal positive and negative levels of return, we report on a quantitative gain–loss asymmetry most pronounced for short horizons. It is argued that this asymmetry reflects the market dynamics and we speculate over the origin of this asymmetry.

Suggested Citation

  • Jensen, Mogens H. & Johansen, Anders & Simonsen, Ingve, 2003. "Inverse statistics in economics: the gain–loss asymmetry," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 324(1), pages 338-343.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:324:y:2003:i:1:p:338-343
    DOI: 10.1016/S0378-4371(02)01884-8

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    Cited by:

    1. Zou, Yongjie & Li, Honggang, 2014. "Time spans between price maxima and price minima in stock markets," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 395(C), pages 303-309.
    2. C. M. Rodr'iguez-Mart'inez & H. F. Coronel-Brizio & A. R. Hern'andez-Montoya, 2019. "A multi-scale symmetry analysis of uninterrupted trends returns of daily financial indices," Papers 1908.11204,
    3. Ren, Fei & Guo, Liang & Zhou, Wei-Xing, 2009. "Statistical properties of volatility return intervals of Chinese stocks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 388(6), pages 881-890.
    4. repec:eee:phsmap:v:515:y:2019:i:c:p:159-170 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kei Katahira & Yu Chen & Gaku Hashimoto & Hiroshi Okuda, 2019. "Development of an agent-based speculation game for higher reproducibility of financial stylized facts," Papers 1902.02040,
    6. repec:eee:phsmap:v:524:y:2019:i:c:p:503-518 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zhou, Wei-Xing & Yuan, Wei-Kang, 2005. "Inverse statistics in stock markets: Universality and idiosyncracy," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 353(C), pages 433-444.
    8. Bernabe, Araceli & Martina, Esteban & Alvarez-Ramirez, Jose & Ibarra-Valdez, Carlos, 2004. "A multi-model approach for describing crude oil price dynamics," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 338(3), pages 567-584.
    9. Vladimir Filimonov & Didier Sornette, 2014. "Power law scaling and "Dragon-Kings" in distributions of intraday financial drawdowns," Papers 1407.5037,, revised Apr 2015.


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