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Selling Fast and Buying Slow: Heuristics and Trading Performance of Institutional Investors

Author

Listed:
  • Klakow Akepanidtaworn
  • Rick Di Mascio
  • Alex Imas
  • Lawrence Schmidt

Abstract

Are market experts prone to heuristics, and if so, do they transfer across closely related domains—buying and selling? We investigate this question using a unique dataset of institutional investors with portfolios averaging $573 million. A striking finding emerges: while there is clear evidence of skill in buying, selling decisions underperform substantially—even relative to random selling strategies. This holds despite the similarity between the two decisions in frequency, substance and consequences for performance. Evidence suggests that an asymmetric allocation of cognitive resources such as attention can explain the discrepancy: we document a systematic, costly heuristic process when selling but not when buying.

Suggested Citation

  • Klakow Akepanidtaworn & Rick Di Mascio & Alex Imas & Lawrence Schmidt, 2021. "Selling Fast and Buying Slow: Heuristics and Trading Performance of Institutional Investors," NBER Working Papers 29076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:29076
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    Cited by:

    1. Schwartz-Ziv, Miriam & Wermers, Russ, 2022. "Do institutional investors monitor their large-scale vs. small-scale investments differently? Evidence from the say-on-pay vote," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    2. Susan K Christoffersen & Donald B Keim & David K Musto & Aleksandra Rzeźnik, 2022. "Passive-Aggressive Trading: The Supply and Demand of Liquidity by Mutual Funds [Does motivation matter when assessing trade performance? An analysis of mutual funds]," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 26(5), pages 1145-1177.
    3. Germ'an Reyes, 2022. "Coarse Wage-Setting and Behavioral Firms," Papers 2206.01114, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2022.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G4 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance
    • G41 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making in Financial Markets

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