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A survey of behavioral finance

In: Handbook of the Economics of Finance

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  • Barberis, Nicholas
  • Thaler, Richard

Abstract

Behavioral finance argues that some financial phenomena can plausibly be understood using models in which some agents are not fully rational. The field has two building blocks: limits to arbitrage, which argues that it can be difficult for rational traders to undo the dislocations caused by less rational traders; and psychology, which catalogues the kinds of deviations from full rationality we might expect to see. We discuss these two topics, and then present a number of behavioral finance applications: to the aggregate stock market, to the cross-section of average returns, to individual trading behavior, and to corporate finance. We close by assessing progress in the field and speculating about its future course.

Suggested Citation

  • Barberis, Nicholas & Thaler, Richard, 2003. "A survey of behavioral finance," Handbook of the Economics of Finance,in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1053-1128 Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finchp:2-18
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    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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