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Emotion and financial markets

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  • Lucy F. Ackert
  • Bryan K. Church
  • Richard Deaves

Abstract

Psychologists and economists hold vastly different views about human behavior. Psychologists contend that economists' models bear little relation to actual behavior. This view is supported by a large body of psychological research that shows that emotional state can significantly affect decision making. ; Economists, on the other hand, argue that psychological studies have no theoretical basis and offer little empirical evidence about people's decision-making processes. The reigning financial economics paradigm-the efficient market hypothesis (EMH)-assumes that individuals make rational investment decisions using the rules of probability and statistics. A newer branch of financial economics called behavioral finance applies lessons from psychology to financial decision making, but most of these studies have focused on cognitive biases rather than emotion. ; The authors of this article argue that emotion has important, and possibly beneficial, influences on financial behavior. After defining the term emotion and describing how emotions can be categorized, the authors consider how emotions influence human behavior. The discussion focuses particularly on three aspects of emotion and financial decision making: emotional disposition and stock market pricing, the feeling of regret, and investors' emotional response to information. ; No new financial economics paradigm that incorporates behavioral influences and better models actual behavior has yet emerged to replace the EMH. Yet the authors believe that emotional behavior's influence on financial decision making should be taken into account in future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church & Richard Deaves, 2003. "Emotion and financial markets," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q2, pages 33-41.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedaer:y:2003:i:q2:p:33-41:n:v.88no.2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Da Silva, Sergio & Baldo, Dinora & Matsushita, Raul, 2011. "Biological correlates of the Allais paradox - updated," MPRA Paper 32747, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Emmanuel PETIT (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2010. "The role of regret in the persistence of anomalies in financial markets (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2010-07, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    3. Lucy F. Ackert & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2004. "Tax policy design in the presence of social preferences: some experimental evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Tracey West & Andrew Worthington, 2014. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Australian Financial Risk Attitudes, 2001–2010," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 263-277, June.
    5. Marcia L. Zindel & Emilio Menezes & Raul Matsushita & Sergio Da Silva, 2010. "Biological characteristics modulating investor overconfidence," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(2), pages 1496-1508.
    6. Lepori, Gabriele M., 2016. "Air pollution and stock returns: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 25-42.

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    Keywords

    Financial markets;

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