Do Investors Integrate Losses and Segregate Gains? Mental Accounting and Investor Trading Decisions
I test whether investors' trading decisions are influenced by their preferences for framing gains and losses. I find that investors are more likely to bundle sales of losers than sales of winners on the same day, consistent with the hedonic editing hypothesis (Thaler 1985) that individuals prefer integrating losses and segregating gains. In addition, the extent to which mixed sales of winners and losers are consistent with the hedonic editing hypothesis is greater than what would be expected under random sales of stocks. These results suggest that mental accounting is likely to play a significant role in investors' trading decisions.