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How does household portfolio diversification vary with financial sophistication and advice?

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  • von Gaudecker, Hans-Martin

    () (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Abstract

Economic theory suggests that households should invest their financial wealth in a combination of cash and a well-diversified equity portfolio. Yet, many households' equity investments are strongly concentrated in a few assets. Attempts to explain this discrepancy have included low levels of cognitive skills and/or financial knowledge; and poor or misguided financial advice. In order to investigate these claims empirically, I construct detailed portfolios for the respondents to a Dutch household survey. The data allow me to estimate the portfolios' risk-return properties without resorting to assumptions about characteristics of specific asset classes. Controlling for a large number of covariates, my results show that the combination of low numerical-financial skills and not seeking advice from other persons is strongly associated with the largest losses from underdiversification, whereas financial knowledge does not seem to have much of an effect.

Suggested Citation

  • von Gaudecker, Hans-Martin, 2011. "How does household portfolio diversification vary with financial sophistication and advice?," MEA discussion paper series 11238, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:11238
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    Cited by:

    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2017. "Optimal Financial Knowledge and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 431-477.
    2. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea & Lamla, Bettina, 2014. "The long Shadow of Socialism: On East-West German Differences in Financial Literacy," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100585, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. repec:mea:meawpa:14282 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Giofré, Maela, 2013. "International diversification: Households versus institutional investors," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 145-176.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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