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The effect of forecast bias on market behavior: evidence from experimental asset markets

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  • Lucy F. Ackert
  • Bryan K. Church
  • Ping Zhang

Abstract

This paper reports the results of 15 experimental asset markets designed to investigate the effect of optimistic forecast bias on market behavior. Each market is organized as a double oral auction in which participants trade a single-period asset with uncertain value. Traders are informed of the asset value distribution and, prior to trading, given the opportunity to acquire a forecast of the asset's period-end value. The degree of forecast bias is manipulated across experimental sessions so that in some sessions the forecast contains a systematic, upward (low or high) bias. We conduct sessions with inexperienced and experienced traders. The results suggest that market prices are supportive of a full revelation unbiased price in the unbiased markets and the experienced, low-bias markets. The results from the low-bias markets indicate that as long as traders have sufficient experience with such forecasts, asset prices reflect the debiased forecasts. In contrast, we find no evidence that high-bias forecasts are reflected in market prices, regardless of experience. We also find that the demand for forecasted information persists over time, but it is greater in the unbiased and low-bias conditions than in the high-bias condition. Finally, we provide little evidence that the net profit (that is, net of the information cost) of informed and uninformed traders differs, regardless of bias condition or experience level.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church & Ping Zhang, 1999. "The effect of forecast bias on market behavior: evidence from experimental asset markets," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:99-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ackert, LF & Church, BK & Shehata, M, 1997. "An experimental examination of the effects of forecast bias on individuals' use of forecasted information," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 25-42.
    2. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1982. "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational-Expectations Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 663-698, August.
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    4. Banks, Jeffrey S, 1985. "Price-conveyed Information versus Observed Insider Behavior: A Note on Rational Expectations Convergence [Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Ration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 807-815, August.
    5. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1988. "Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1085-1118, September.
    6. Sunder, Shyam, 1992. "Market for Information: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 667-695, May.
    7. Ackert, Lucy F. & Church, Bryan K., 1998. "Information dissemination and the distribution of wealth: Evidence from experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 357-371, November.
    8. Forsythe, Robert & Lundholm, Russell, 1990. "Information Aggregation in an Experimental Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 309-347, March.
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    11. De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Do Security Analysts Overreact?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 52-57, May.
    12. Abarbanell, Jeffery S., 1991. "Do analysts' earnings forecasts incorporate information in prior stock price changes?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 147-165, June.
    13. Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church, 1998. "The effects of subject pool and design experience on rationality in experimental asset markets," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 98-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    14. McNichols, M & O'Brien, PC, 1997. "Self-selection and analyst coverage," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35, pages 167-199.
    15. Ackert, Lucy F. & Church, Bryan K. & Shehata, Mohamed, 1997. "Market behavior in the presence of costly, imperfect information: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 61-74, May.
    16. Ganguly, Ananda R. & Kagel, John H. & Moser, Donald V., 1994. "The effects of biases in probability judgments on market prices," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 675-700, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucy F. Ackert & George Athanassakos, 2003. "A Simultaneous Equations Analysis of Analysts' Forecast Bias, Analyst Following, and Institutional Ownership," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30, pages 1017-1042.
    2. Lucy F. Ackert & George Athanassakos, 2000. "A simultaneous equations analysis of analysts’ forecast bias and institutional ownership," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2000-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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    Keywords

    Forecasting; Asset pricing;

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