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

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  • Nicholas Barberis
  • Ming Huang

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang, 2007. "Stocks as Lotteries: The Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices," NBER Working Papers 12936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12936
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • 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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