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Stocks as Lotteries: The Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices

  • Nicholas Barberis
  • Ming Huang

We study the asset pricing implications of Tversky and Kahneman's (1992) cumulative prospect theory, with particular focus on its probability weighting component. Our main result, derived from a novel equilibrium with non-unique global optima, is that, in contrast to the prediction of a standard expected utility model, a security's own skewness can be priced: a positively skewed security can be "overpriced," and can earn a negative average excess return. Our results offer a unifying way of thinking about a number of seemingly unrelated financial phenomena, such as the low average return on IPOs, private equity, and distressed stocks; the diversification discount; the low valuation of certain equity stubs; the pricing of out-of-the-money options; and the lack of diversification in many household portfolios.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12936.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Publication status: published as Barberis, Nicholas and Ming Huang. "Stocks as Lotteries: The Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices." American Economic Review 98, 5 (2008): 2006-2100.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12936
Note: AP
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  17. Paul Schultz, 2003. "Pseudo Market Timing and the Long-Run Underperformance of IPOs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 483-518, 04.
  18. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
  19. Haim Levy & Enrico De Giorgi & Thorsten Hens, . "Prospect Theory and the CAPM: A contradiction or coexistence?," IEW - Working Papers 157, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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