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Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk-Taking?


  • John Beshears
  • James J. Choi
  • David Laibson
  • Brigitte C. Madrian


Many previous experiments have found that participants invest more in risky assets if they (i) see their returns less frequently, (ii) see portfolio-level returns (rather than individual asset-by-asset returns), or (iii) see long-horizon (rather than one-year) historical asset class return distributions. In contrast, we find that such information aggregation treatments do not increase equity allocations in an experiment where—unlike previous experiments—participants invest in real mutual funds over the course of one year. In a follow-up experiment, we start with the classic Gneezy and Potters (1997) experimental design and modify it step-by-step to move closer to the design of our first experiment. Using this identification strategy, we show that previously documented aggregation effects are not robust to (i) changes in the distribution of the risky asset’s returns and (ii) the introduction of a multi-day delay between the initial portfolio choice and the realization of returns.

Suggested Citation

  • John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2011. "Does Aggregated Returns Disclosure Increase Portfolio Risk-Taking?," NBER Working Papers 16868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16868
    Note: AG AP

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bellemare, Charles & Krause, Michaela & Kroger, Sabine & Zhang, Chendi, 2005. "Myopic loss aversion: Information feedback vs. investment flexibility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(3), pages 319-324, June.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    3. Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2005. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 523-534, February.
    4. Gerlinde Fellner & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Causes, Consequences, and Cures of Myopic Loss Aversion - An Experimental Investigation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 900-916, April.
    5. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2010. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1405-1432, April.
    6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2017. "How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(03), pages 1-31, September.
    7. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "Mental Accounting in Portfolio Choice: Evidence from a Flypaper Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2085-2095, December.
    8. Sutter, Matthias, 2007. "Are teams prone to myopic loss aversion? An experimental study on individual versus team investment behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 128-132, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. van der Heijden, Eline & Klein, Tobias J. & Müller, Wieland & Potters, Jan, 2012. "Framing effects and impatience: Evidence from a large scale experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 701-711.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions


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