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Does Prospect Theory Explain the Disposition Effect?

Author

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  • Hens, Thorsten

    () (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Vlcek, Martin

    () (Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

The disposition effect is the observation that investors hold winning stocks too long and sell losing stocks too early. A standard explanation of the disposition effect refers to prospect theory and in particular to the asymmetric risk aversion according to which investors are risk averse when faced with gains and risk-seeking when faced with losses. We show that for reasonable parameter values the disposition effect can however not be explained by prospect theory as proposed by Kahneman and Tversky. The reason is that those investors who sell winning stocks and hold loosing assets would in the first place not have invested in stocks. That is to say the standard prospect theory argument is sound ex-post, assuming that the investment has taken place, but not ex-ante, requiring that the investment is made in the first place.

Suggested Citation

  • Hens, Thorsten & Vlcek, Martin, 2005. "Does Prospect Theory Explain the Disposition Effect?," Discussion Papers 2005/18, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2005_018
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/11250/163748
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    2. Arjan B. Berkelaar & Roy Kouwenberg & Thierry Post, 2004. "Optimal Portfolio Choice under Loss Aversion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 973-987, November.
    3. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
    4. Kyle, Albert S. & Ou-Yang, Hui & Xiong, Wei, 2006. "Prospect theory and liquidation decisions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 273-288, July.
    5. Weber, Martin & Camerer, Colin F., 1998. "The disposition effect in securities trading: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 167-184, January.
    6. Francisco J. Gomes, 2005. "Portfolio Choice and Trading Volume with Loss-Averse Investors," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 675-706, March.
    7. Grinblatt, Mark & Keloharju, Matti, 2000. "The investment behavior and performance of various investor types: a study of Finland's unique data set," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 43-67, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Barberis & Wei Xiong, 2009. "What Drives the Disposition Effect? An Analysis of a Long-Standing Preference-Based Explanation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 751-784, April.
    2. Ormos, Mihály & Joó, István, 2014. "Are Hungarian investors reluctant to realize their losses?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 52-58.
    3. Yeong-Jia Goo & Dar-Hsin Chen & Sze-Hsun Sylcien Chang & Chi-Feng Yeh, 2010. "A Study of the Disposition Effect for Individual Investors in the Taiwan Stock Market," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 108-119, January.
    4. Enrico Giorgi & Thorsten Hens, 2006. "Making prospect theory fit for finance," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 20(3), pages 339-360, September.
    5. Boolell-Gunesh S. & Broihanne M-H. & Merli M., 2008. "Are French Individual Investors reluctant to realize their losses?," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2008-09, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    6. Yeong-Jia Goo & Dar-Hsin Chen & Sze-Hsun Sylcien Chang & Chi-Feng Yeh, 2010. "A Study of the Disposition Effect for Individual Investors in the Taiwan Stock Market," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 108-119, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disposition effect; prospect theory; portfolio choice;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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