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Market Efficiency in an Irrational World

Author

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  • Kent Daniel
  • Sheridan Titman

Abstract

This paper explains why investors are likely to be overconfident and how this behavioral bias affects investment decisions. Our analysis suggests that investor overconfidence can potentially generate stock return momentum and that this momentum effect is likely to be the strongest in those stocks whose valuation requires the interpretation of ambiguous information. Consistent with this, we find that momentum effects are stronger for growth stocks than value stocks. A portfolio strategy based on this hypothesis generates strong abnormal returns that do not appear to be attributable to risk. Although these results violate the traditional efficient markets hypothesis, they do not necessarily imply that rational but uniformed investors, without the benefit of hindsight, could have actually achieved the returns. We argue that to examine whether unexploited profit opportunities exist, one must test for what we call adaptive-efficiency, which is a somewhat weaker form of market efficiency that allows for the appearance of profit opportunities in historical data, but requires these profit opportunities to dissipate when they become apparent. Our tests reject this notion of adaptive-efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Kent Daniel & Sheridan Titman, 2000. "Market Efficiency in an Irrational World," NBER Working Papers 7489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7489
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Harrison Hong & Terence Lim & Jeremy C. Stein, 2000. "Bad News Travels Slowly: Size, Analyst Coverage, and the Profitability of Momentum Strategies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 265-295, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rodolfo Apreda, 2000. "Differential Rates of Return and Residual Information Sets (A Discrete Approach)," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 177, Universidad del CEMA.
    2. Schulmeister, Stephan, 2006. "The interaction between technical currency trading and exchange rate fluctuations," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 212-233, September.
    3. Alexander S. Sangare, 2005. "Efficience des marchés : un siècle après Bachelier," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 81(4), pages 107-132.
    4. Huai-Long Shi & Zhi-Qiang Jiang & Wei-Xing Zhou, 2015. "Profitability of contrarian strategies in the Chinese stock market," Papers 1505.00328, arXiv.org.
    5. Roman Kraeussl & Christian Wiehenkamp, 2012. "A call on art investments," Review of Derivatives Research, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, April.
    6. Qin Xiao & Gee Kwang Randolph Tan, 2007. "Signal Extraction with Kalman Filter: A Study of the Hong Kong Property Price Bubbles," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(4), pages 865-888, April.
    7. Emmanuel PETIT (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2010. "The role of regret in the persistence of anomalies in financial markets (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2010-07, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    8. Stephan Schulmeister, 2007. "The Interaction Between the Aggregate Behaviour of Technical Trading Systems and Stock Price Dynamics," WIFO Working Papers 290, WIFO.

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    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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