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Hedging, Familiarity and Portfolio Choice

Author

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  • Massa, Massimo

    () (INSEAD, Finance Department)

  • Simonov, Andrei

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

We exploit the restrictions of intertemporal portfolio choice in the presence of non-financial income risk to design and implement tests of hedging that use the information contained in the actual portfolio of the investor. We use a unique dataset of Swedish investors with information broken down at the investor level and into various components of wealth, investor income, tax positions and investor demographic characteristics. Portfolio holdings are identified at the stock level. We show that investors do not engage in hedging, but invest in stocks closely related to their non-financial income. We explain this with familiarity, that is the tendency to concentrate holdings in stocks with which the investor is familiar in terms of geographical of professional proximity or that he has held for a long period. We show that familiarity is not a behavioral bias, but is information-driven. Familiarity-based investment allows investors to earn higher returns than they would have otherwise earned if they had hedged.

Suggested Citation

  • Massa, Massimo & Simonov, Andrei, 2004. "Hedging, Familiarity and Portfolio Choice," SIFR Research Report Series 21, Institute for Financial Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sifrwp:0021
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    Keywords

    Asset pricing; Portfolio decision; Hedging;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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