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Information Diffusion Effects in Individual Investors' Common Stock Purchases: Covet Thy Neighbors' Investment Choices

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  • Zoran Ivkovich
  • Scott Weisbenner

Abstract

Using data on stock purchases individual investors made through a discount broker from 1991 to 1996, we study information diffusion effects the relation between household investment choices and those made by their neighbors. A ten percentage point increase in neighbors' purchases of stocks from an industry is associated with a two percentage point increase in the household's own purchases of stocks from that industry, with the effect considerably larger for purchases of local stocks. The presence of information diffusion effects is robust to controls for potential inside information effects and to household fixed effects. Upon controlling for aggregate trading patterns, households' and neighbors' investment style preferences, and the industry composition of local firms, we attribute approximately one-third to one-half of the overall diffusion effect to word-of-mouth communication. Disentangling the overall diffusion effect suggests that the significant relation between our measures of information diffusion and subsequent industry-level returns appears to be driven by its word-of-mouth component.

Suggested Citation

  • Zoran Ivkovich & Scott Weisbenner, 2004. "Information Diffusion Effects in Individual Investors' Common Stock Purchases: Covet Thy Neighbors' Investment Choices," NBER Working Papers 10436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10436 Note: AP
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lakonishok, Josef & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1992. "The impact of institutional trading on stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 23-43, August.
    2. Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125.
    3. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2004. "Social Interaction and Stock-Market Participation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 137-163, February.
    4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
    5. Ning Zhu, 2002. "The Local Bias of Individual Investors," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm272, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Sep 2009.
    6. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-643, August.
    7. Duflo, Esther & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues' choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 121-148, July.
    8. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
    9. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2005. "Thy Neighbor's Portfolio: Word-of-Mouth Effects in the Holdings and Trades of Money Managers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2801-2824, December.
    10. Joshua D. Coval & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 2001. "The Geography of Investment: Informed Trading and Asset Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 811-841, August.
    11. Mark Grinblatt, 2001. "How Distance, Language, and Culture Influence Stockholdings and Trades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(3), pages 1053-1073, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Bowden & Stuart McDonald, 2008. "The Impact of Interaction and Social Learning on Aggregate Expectations," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 31(3), pages 289-306, April.
    2. Aureo de Paula, 2004. "Social Interactions in a Synchronization Game," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 277, Econometric Society.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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