IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Illusion of control as a source of poor diversification: An experimental approach

  • Gerlinde Fellner


This paper investigates factors influencing individual portfolio allocations with particular focus on the role of illusion of control. By forming their portfolio of two risky lotteries and one risk-less alternative, subjects are requested to reach a target investment profit, whereby equal diversification between the two risky lotteries is part of the solution space. Subjects however excessively invest in the lottery for which they can determine the outcome by rolling the die themselves indicating that they are prone to illusion of control. However, the effect vanishes with experience. In contrast, presenting random sequences of prior outcomes reduces biased investments. In line with the excessive extrapolation hypothesis, the more positive outcomes observed from past draws, the more likely is a positive prediction for this lottery, which is then followed by higher investment. Also, offering a default portfolio strongly determines final allocations.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2004-28.

in new window

Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2004-28
Contact details of provider: Postal: Kahlaische Strasse 10, D-07745 Jena
Phone: +49-3641-68 65
Fax: +49-3641-68 69 90
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  2. Gur Huberman & Sheena Iyengar & Wei Jiang, 2007. "Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Determinants of Participation and Contributions Rates," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 1-32, February.
  3. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7vz7w609, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  4. Lucy F. Ackert & Narat Charupat & Bryan K. Church & James Tompkins & Richard Deaves, 2003. "An experimental examination of the house money effect in a multi-period setting," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  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.
  6. De Bondt, Werner F. M., 1998. "A portrait of the individual investor," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 831-844, May.
  7. De Bondt, Werner P. M., 1993. "Betting on trends: Intuitive forecasts of financial risk and return," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 355-371, November.
  8. Sendhil Mullainathan & Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "Behavioral Economics," NBER Working Papers 7948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Huberman, Gur, 2001. "Familiarity Breeds Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(3), pages 659-80.
  10. Glaser, Markus & Langer, Thomas & Weber, Martin, 2003. "On the Trend Recognition and Forecasting Ability of Professional Traders," CEPR Discussion Papers 3904, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  12. Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. " Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
  13. Werner F. M. De Bondt & Richard H. Thaler, 1994. "Financial Decision-Making in Markets and Firms: A Behavioral Perspective," NBER Working Papers 4777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2004-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karin Richter)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Karin Richter to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.