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Individual Preferences, Monetary Gambles and the Equity Premium


  • Nicholas Barberis
  • Ming Huang
  • Richard Thaler


We argue that narrow framing, whereby an agent who is offered a new gamble evaluates that gamble in isolation, separately from other risks she already faces, may be a more important feature of decision-making under risk than previously realized. To demonstrate this, we present evidence on typical attitudes to independent monetary gambles with both large and small stakes and show that across a wide range of utility functions, including all expected utility and many non-expected utility specifications, the only ones that can easily capture these attitudes are precisely those exhibiting narrow framing. Our analysis also makes predictions about the kinds of preferences that might be able to address the stock market participation and equity premium puzzles. We illustrate these predictions in simple portfolio choice and equilibrium settings.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Richard Thaler, 2003. "Individual Preferences, Monetary Gambles and the Equity Premium," NBER Working Papers 9997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9997
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    Cited by:

    1. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2010. "Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 18-38, January.
    2. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Individual Preferences, Monetary Gambles, and Stock Market Participation: A Case for Narrow Framing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1069-1090, September.
    3. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
    4. Paul Heidhues & Botond Köszegi, 2004. "The Impact of Consumer Loss Aversion on Pricing," CIG Working Papers SP II 2004-17, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    5. Edward L. Glaeser, 2004. "Psychology and the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 408-413, May.
    6. Josef Lakonishok & Inmoo Lee & Allen M. Poteshman, 2004. "Investor Behavior in the Option Market," NBER Working Papers 10264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Anderson, Anders E. S., 2004. "One for the Gain, Three for the Loss," SIFR Research Report Series 20, Institute for Financial Research.

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    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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