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Loonies Under Your Bed: Misdirected Attention and the Diluted Value of Stock Market Reports

  • Lupia, Arthur
  • Grafstrom, Cassandra
  • Krupnikov, Yanna
  • Levine, Adam Seth
  • MacMillan, William
  • McGovern, Erin

Many people pay attention to media reports of the US stock market’s performance. Using a data-based thought experiment, we cast the market’s recent highs and lows in an unusually unattractive light. The result matters because the economic and political factors that make it relevant are likely to continue. Using research in economics and psychology, we explain why so many investors and media reports are blind to the unattractive interpretation. To mitigate the blindness’ harmful consequences, we propose an alternate way of presenting stock market information. The alternative is easy to implement and can help citizens draw important inferences from the attention they already pay to financial reports. The word “loonies” refers to Canadian dollars, which play a key role in our analysis. Loonies are not causal of any of the key relationships in our analysis, but provide a useful device for making a broader point about key US asset values.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 4912.

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Date of creation: 13 Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4912
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  1. Chinn, Menzie David & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2006. "Will the Euro Eventually Surpass the Dollar As Leading International Reserve Currency?," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt4hz4n9pb, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Randolph B. Cohen & Christopher Polk & Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2005. "Money Illusion in the Stock Market: The Modigliani-Cohn Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 639-668, May.
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  4. James Poterba & Joshua Rauh & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2007. "Defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, and the accumulation of retirement wealth," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 2062-2086 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 39-68, January.
  8. David Dodge, 2002. "The Interaction Between Monetary and Fiscal Policies," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(2), pages 187-201, June.
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