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Nonrational Actors and Financial Market Behavior

  • Richard Zeckhauser
  • Jayendu Patel
  • Darryll Hendricks

The insights of descriptive decision theorists and psychologists, we believe, have much to contribute to our understanding of financial market macrophenomena. We propose an analytic agenda that distinguishes those individual idiosyncrasies that prove consequential at the macro-level from those that are neutralized by market processes such as poaching. We discuss five behavioral traits - barn-door closing, expert/reliance effects, status quo bias, framing, and herding - that we employ in explaining financial flows. Patterns in flows to mutual funds, to new equities, across national boundaries, as well as movements in debt-equity ratios are shown to be consistent with deviations from rationality.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3731.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3731.

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Date of creation: Jun 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Theory and Decision, vol 31, 1991, pp 257-287
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3731
Note: ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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