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Molecular Genetics, Risk Aversion, Return Perceptions, and Stock Market Participation

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  • Richard Sias
  • Laura Starks
  • Harry J. Turtle

Abstract

We show that molecular variation in DNA related to cognition, personality, health, and body shape, predicts an individual’s equity market participation and risk aversion. Moreover, the molecular genetic endowments predict individuals’ return perceptions, most of which we find to be strikingly biased. The genetic endowments also strongly associate with many of the investor characteristics (e.g., trust, sociability, wealth) shown to explain heterogeneity in equity market participation. Our analysis helps elucidate why financial choices are heritable and how genetic endowments can help explain the links between financial choices, risk aversion, beliefs, and other variables known to explain stock market participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Sias & Laura Starks & Harry J. Turtle, 2020. "Molecular Genetics, Risk Aversion, Return Perceptions, and Stock Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 27638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27638
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G41 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making in Financial Markets
    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth

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