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Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis

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  • Haigh, Michael S.
  • List, John A.

Abstract

Two behavioral concepts, loss aversion and mental accounting, have recently been combined to provide a theoretical explanation of the equity premium puzzle. Recent experimental evidence suggests that undergraduate students' behavior is consistent with this "myopic loss aversion" conjecture. Our suspicion is that, much like certain anomalies in the realm of riskless decisions, these behavioral tendencies will be severely attenuated when real market players are put to the task. Making use of a unique subject pool-professional futures and options pit traders recruited from the Chicago Board of Trade-we do find behavioral differences between professionals and students. Yet, rather than discovering that the anomaly disappears, the data suggest that professional traders exhibit myopic loss aversion to a greater extent than undergraduate students.

Suggested Citation

  • Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2002. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 28554, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umdrwp:28554
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
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    7. Richard H. Thaler & Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman & Alan Schwartz, 1997. "The Effect of Myopia and Loss Aversion on Risk Taking: An Experimental Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 647-661.
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    9. Uri Gneezy & Arie Kapteyn & Jan Potters, 2003. "Evaluation Periods and Asset Prices in a Market Experiment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 821-838, April.
    10. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
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    12. Theodore W. Schultz, 1962. "Reflections on Investment in Man," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-1.
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    14. Uri Gneezy & Arie Kapteyn & Jan Potters, 2003. "Evaluation Periods and Asset Prices in a Market Experiment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 821-838, April.
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