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In search of positive skewness: the case of individual investors

Author

Listed:
  • Patrick Roger

    () (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)

  • Marie-Hélène Broihanne

    (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)

  • Maxime Merli

    (LaRGE Research Center, Université de Strasbourg)

Abstract

In this paper, we first prove analytically that the skewness of returns of portfolios built with Arrow-Debreu securities decreases with diversification. Through simulations, we also show that this result remains true in a financial market with a finite number of states of nature. We then analyze the behavior of over 85,000 individual investors at a large brokerage house. Though the main determinant of underdiversification is the portfolio value we find that the skewness of returns remains significant in explaining diversification after controlling for this value. Moreover, we show that the decrease in skewness induced by diversification is essentially driven by the share of total variance of stock returns due to common factors. These findings extend those of Mitton and Vorkink (2007) and explain the variability over time of the relationship between skewness and diversification.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Roger & Marie-Hélène Broihanne & Maxime Merli, 2012. "In search of positive skewness: the case of individual investors," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2012-04, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:lar:wpaper:2012-04
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Underdiversification; skewness; individual investors.;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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