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Do individual investors learn from their mistakes?

Author

Listed:
  • Maximilian Koestner

    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

  • Benjamin Loos

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Steffen Meyer

    (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

  • Andreas Hackethal

    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Abstract

Based on recent empirical evidence which suggests that as investors gain experience, their investment performance improves, we hypothesize that the specific mechanism through which experience translates into better investment returns is closely related to learning from investment mistakes. To test our hypotheses, we use an administrative dataset which covers the trading history of 19,487 individual investors. Our results show that underdiversification and the disposition effect do not decline as investors gain experience. However, we find that experience correlates with less portfolio turnover. We conclude that compared to other investment mistakes, it is relatively easy for individuals to identify and avoid costs related to excessive trading activity. When correlating experience with portfolio returns, we find that as investors gain experience, their portfolio returns improve. A comparison of returns before and after accounting for transaction costs reveals that this effect is related to learning from overtrading.

Suggested Citation

  • Maximilian Koestner & Benjamin Loos & Steffen Meyer & Andreas Hackethal, 2017. "Do individual investors learn from their mistakes?," Journal of Business Economics, Springer, vol. 87(5), pages 669-703, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11573-017-0855-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s11573-017-0855-7
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    Cited by:

    1. Corneille, Olivier & De Winne, Rudy & D’Hondt, Catherine, 2018. "The disposition effect does not survive disclosure of expected price trends," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 80-91.
    2. Jiekun Huang & Nianhang Xu & Honghai Yu, 2020. "Pollution and Performance: Do Investors Make Worse Trades on Hazy Days?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(10), pages 4455-4476, October.
    3. Bellofatto, Anthony & Broihanne, Marie-Hélène & D'Hondt, Catherine, 2019. "Appetite for information and trading behavior," LIDAM Discussion Papers LFIN 2019002, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain Finance (LFIN).
    4. Dierick, Nicolas & Heyman, Dries & Inghelbrecht, Koen & Stieperaere, Hannes, 2019. "Financial attention and the disposition effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 190-217.
    5. Benjamin Loos & Steffen Meyer & Michaela Pagel, 2020. "The Consumption Effects of the Disposition to Sell Winners and Hold Losers," NBER Working Papers 26668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. D’Hondt, Catherine & De Winne, Rudy & Merli, Maxime, 2021. "Do retail investors bite off more than they can chew? A close look at their return objectives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 879-902.
    7. Steffen Meyer & Michaela Pagel, 2019. "Fully Closed: Individual Responses to Realized Gains and Losses," NBER Working Papers 25542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Scott R. Baker & Lorenz Kueng & Steffen Meyer & Michaela Pagel, 2018. "Measurement Error in Imputed Consumption," NBER Working Papers 25078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Steffen Meyer & Michaela Pagel, 2022. "Fully Closed: Individual Responses to Realized Gains and Losses," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 77(3), pages 1529-1585, June.
    10. D'Hondt, Catherine & Elhichou Elmaya, Younes & Petitjean, Mikael, 2020. "Retail Investing in Passive Exchange Traded Funds," LIDAM Discussion Papers LFIN 2020013, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain Finance (LFIN).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investor learning; Investment mistakes; Household Finance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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