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Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Noam Yuchtman

    (UC Berkeley)

  • Florian Ederer

    (UCLA)

  • Bruno Ferman

    (The George Washington University)

  • Leonardo Bursztyn

    (UCLA)

Abstract

Using a high-stakes field experiment conducted with a financial brokerage, we implement a novel design to separately identify two channels of social influence in financial decisions, both widely studied theoretically. When someone purchases an asset, his peers may also want to purchase it, both because they learn from his choice ("social learning") and because his possession of the asset directly affects others' utility of owning the same asset ("social utility"). We find that both channels have statistically and economically significant effects on investment decisions. These results can help shed light on the mechanisms underlying herding behavior in financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Noam Yuchtman & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Leonardo Bursztyn, 2013. "Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," 2013 Meeting Papers 222, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:222
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Villas-Boas, Sofia B & Carrera, Mariana, 2016. "Generic aversion and observational learning in the over-the-counter drug market," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt0q03b5f2, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    2. Gordon B. Dahl & Katrine V. L?ken & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Peer Effects in Program Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2049-2074, July.
    3. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
    4. Grohmann, Antonia Charlotte & Sakha, Sahra, 2015. "The Effect of Peer Observation on the Consumption of Temptation Goods: Experimental Evidence," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113084, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Eleonora Patacchini & Edoardo Rainone, 2017. "Social ties and the demand for financial services," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1115, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Hvide, Hans K & Östberg, Per, 2014. "Stock investments at work," CEPR Discussion Papers 9837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Lahno, Amrei M. & Serra-Garcia, Marta, 2012. "Peer Effects in Risk Taking," Discussion Papers in Economics 14309, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:kap:jfsres:v:52:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10693-017-0279-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Jing Cai & Alain De Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2015. "Social Networks and the Decision to Insure," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 81-108, April.
    10. Amrei M. Lahno & Marta Serra-Garcia, 2012. "Peer Effects in Risk Taking," CESifo Working Paper Series 4057, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Kocher, Martin G. & Krawczyk, Michal & Le Lec, Fabrice, 2013. "Sharing or gambling? On risk attitudes in social contexts," Discussion Papers in Economics 17383, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    12. Bougheas, Spiros & Nieboer, Jeroen & Sefton, Martin, 2013. "Risk-taking in social settings: Group and peer effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 273-283.
    13. Eleonora Patacchini & Edoardo Rainone, 2014. "The Word on Banking - Social Ties, Trust, and the Adoption of Financial Products," EIEF Working Papers Series 1404, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Jul 2014.
    14. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Xu, Yilan & Beller, Andrea H. & Roberts, Brent W. & Brown, Jeffrey R., 2015. "Personality and young adult financial distress," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 90-100.
    16. K. Sudhir & Joe Priester & Matt Shum & David Atkin & Andrew Foster & Ganesh Iyer & Ginger Jin & Daniel Keniston & Shinobu Kitayama & Mushfiq Mobarak & Yi Qian & Ishani Tewari & Wendy Wood, 2015. "Research Opportunities in Emerging Markets: an Inter-disciplinary Perspective from Marketing, Economics, and Psychology," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 2(4), pages 264-276, December.
    17. Baghestanian, Sascha & Gortner, Paul J. & van der Weele, Joël J., 2014. "Peer effects and risk sharing in experimental asset markets," SAFE Working Paper Series 67, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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