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How Does Simplified Disclosure Affect Individuals' Mutual Fund Choices?

Author

Listed:
  • Beshears, John

    (Harvard University)

  • Choi, James

    (Yale University)

  • Laibson, David

    (Harvard University)

  • Madrian, Brigitte C.

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Beshears, John & Choi, James & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2009. "How Does Simplified Disclosure Affect Individuals' Mutual Fund Choices?," Working Paper Series rwp09-016, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp09-016
    as

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    File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=6693&type=WPN
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Henrik Cronqvist, 2005. "Advertising and Portfolio Choice," CeRP Working Papers 44, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    2. 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.
    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. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2010. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1405-1432, April.
    5. 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, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bateman, Hazel & Dobrescu, Loretti I. & Newell, Ben R. & Ortmann, Andreas & Thorp, Susan, 2016. "As easy as pie: How retirement savers use prescribed investment disclosures," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 60-76.
    2. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2010. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1405-1432, April.
    3. Eduardo Fajnzylber & Gonzalo Reyes, 2015. "Knowledge, Information, and Retirement Saving Decisions: Evidence from a Large-Scale Intervention in Chile," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 83-117, February.
    4. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:3:p:429-444 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_661 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, 2012. "Does Contract Disclosure Matter?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(1), pages 94-119, March.
    7. Angela Hung & Aileen Heinberg & Joanne K. Yoong, 2010. "Do Risk Disclosures Affect Investment Choice?," Working Papers WR-788, RAND Corporation.
    8. Sane, Renuka & Halan, Monika, 2017. "Misled and mis-sold: financial misbehaviour in retail banks?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 429-444.
    9. Halan, Monika & Sane, Renuka, 2017. "Regulating consumer finance: Do disclosures matter? The case of life insurance," Working Papers 17/212, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    10. repec:eee:ijrema:v:33:y:2016:i:2:p:276-296 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Meyer, Steffen & Urban, Linda & Ahlswede, Sophie, 2016. "Does feedback on personal investment success help?," SAFE Working Paper Series 157, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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