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How Does Simplified Disclosure Affect Individuals' Mutual Fund Choices?

In: Explorations in the Economics of Aging

  • John Beshears
  • James J. Choi
  • David Laibson
  • Brigitte C. Madrian

We use an experiment to estimate the effect of the SEC's Summary Prospectus, which simplifies mutual fund disclosure. Our subjects chose an equity portfolio and a bond portfolio. Subjects received either statutory prospectuses or Summary Prospectuses. We find no evidence that the Summary Prospectus affects portfolio choices. Our experiment sheds new light on the scope of investor confusion about sales loads. Even with a one-month investment horizon, subjects do not avoid loads. Subjects are either confused about loads, overlook them, or believe their chosen portfolio has an annualized log return that is 24 percentage points higher than the load-minimizing portfolio.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 2011. "Explorations in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise09-2, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11933.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11933
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Cronqvist, Henrik, 2006. "Advertising and Portfolio Choice," Working Paper Series 2006-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    2. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2006. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," NBER Working Papers 12261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1999. "Risk Aversion or Myopia? Choices in Repeated Gambles and Retirement Investments," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(3), pages 364-381, March.
    4. Edwin J. Elton & Martin J. Gruber & Jeffrey A. Busse, 2004. "Are Investors Rational? Choices among Index Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 261-288, 02.
    5. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Saving Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 79-98, March.
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