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Socioeconomic Status and Learning from Financial Information

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  • Camelia M. Kuhnen
  • Andrei C. Miu

Abstract

The majority of lower socioeconomic status (SES) households do not have any stock investments, which is detrimental to wealth accumulation. Here, we examine one potential driver of this puzzling fact, namely, that SES may influence the process by which people learn from information in financial markets. In an experimental setting we find that low SES participants, relative to medium or high SES ones, form more pessimistic beliefs about the distribution of stock investment outcomes and are less likely to invest in stocks. The pessimism bias in assessing risky assets induced by low SES is robust to several ways of measuring one’s socioeconomic standing and it replicates out of sample. These results suggest that SES shapes in predictable ways people’s beliefs about financial assets, which in turn may induce large differences across households in their propensity to participate in financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Camelia M. Kuhnen & Andrei C. Miu, 2015. "Socioeconomic Status and Learning from Financial Information," NBER Working Papers 21214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21214
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    Cited by:

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    2. Brown, James R. & Cookson, J. Anthony & Heimer, Rawley Z., 2019. "Growing up without finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(3), pages 591-616.
    3. Haliassos, Michael & Jansson, Thomas & Karabulut, Yigitcan, 2021. "Wealth inequality: Opportunity or unfairness?," IMFS Working Paper Series 161, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    4. Tilman H. Drerup & Matthias Wibral & Christian Zimpelmann, 2023. "Skewness expectations and portfolio choice," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 26(1), pages 107-144, March.
    5. Sreyoshi Das & Camelia M Kuhnen & Stefan Nagel, 2020. "Socioeconomic Status and Macroeconomic Expectations," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 395-432.
    6. Balloch, Adnan & Engels, Christian & Philip, Dennis, 2022. "When It Rains It Drains: Psychological Distress and Household Net Worth," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    7. Francesco D'Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber & Michael Weber, 2019. "Managing Households' Expectations with Salient Economic Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 7793, CESifo.
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    9. Briggs, Joseph & Cesarini, David & Lindqvist, Erik & Östling, Robert, 2021. "Windfall gains and stock market participation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 57-83.
    10. Antoinette Schoar & Kelvin Yeung & Luo Zuo, 2020. "The Effect of Managers on Systematic Risk," NBER Working Papers 27487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ruonan Jia & Ellen Furlong & Sean Gao & Laurie R Santos & Ifat Levy, 2020. "Learning about the Ellsberg Paradox reduces, but does not abolish, ambiguity aversion," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-24, March.
    12. Margarida Abreu & Victor Mendes, 2018. "Do Individual Investors Trade Differently in Different Markets?," Working Papers Department of Economics 2018/01, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    13. Ya-Fang Cheng & Eugene Burgos Mutuc & Fu-Sheng Tsai & Kun-Hwa Lu & Chien-Ho Lin, 2018. "Social Capital and Stock Market Participation via Technologies: The Role of Households’ Risk Attitude and Cognitive Ability," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(6), pages 1-14, June.
    14. Bender, Svetlana & Choi, James J. & Dyson, Danielle & Robertson, Adriana Z., 2022. "Millionaires speak: What drives their personal investment decisions?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 305-330.
    15. Jonathan Huntley & Valentina Michelangeli & Felix Reichling, 2021. "What drives investors to chase returns?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1334, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Ambrocio, Gene & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2022. "Belief polarization and Covid-19," Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 10/2022, Bank of Finland.
    17. da Silva, Paulo Pereira & Mendes, Victor, 2021. "Exchange-traded certificates, education and the disposition effect," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C).
    18. Cookson, J. Anthony, 2018. "When saving is gambling," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 24-45.
    19. Bauer, Kevin & Nofer, Michael & Abdel-Karim, Benjamin M. & Hinz, Oliver, 2022. "The effects of discontinuing machine learning decision support," SAFE Working Paper Series 370, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    20. Wagner, Alexander F. & Gibson Brandon, Rajna & Sohn, Matthias & Tanner, Carmen, 2018. "Earnings Management and Managerial Honesty: The Investors’ Perspectives," CEPR Discussion Papers 13207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Sias, Richard & Starks, Laura T. & Turtle, H.J., 2023. "The negativity bias and perceived return distributions: Evidence from a pandemic," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(3), pages 627-657.
    22. Bu, Di & Hanspal, Tobin & Liao, Yin & Liu, Yong, 2021. "Risk taking, preferences, and beliefs: Evidence from Wuhan," SAFE Working Paper Series 301, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    23. Sydnee Caldwell & Scott Nelson & Daniel C. Waldinger, 2021. "Tax Refund Uncertainty: Evidence and Welfare Implications," Working Papers 2021-18, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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