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Herd Behavior in Efficient Financial Markets

  • Andreas Park
  • Hamid Sabourian

Rational herd behavior and informationally efficient security prices have long been considered to be mutually exclusive but for exceptional cases. In this paper we describe conditions on the underlying information structure that are necessary and sufficient for informational herding. Employing a standard sequential security trading model, we argue that people may be subject to herding if and only if there is sufficient amount of noise and, loosely, their information leads them to believe that extreme outcomes are more likely than moderate ones. We then show that herding has a significant effect on prices: prices can move substantially during herding and they become more volatile than if there were no herding. Furthermore, herding can be persistent and can affect the process of learning. We also characterize conditions for contrarian behavior. Our analysis suggests that herding (and contrarian behavior) may be more pervasive than was originally thought. Hence, the paper provides a new perspective on herding in financial markets with efficient prices

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-249.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 03 Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-249
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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  2. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, . "Herd Behavior and Contagion in Financial Markets," Working Papers 2010-01, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  3. Glosten, Lawrence R. & Milgrom, Paul R., 1985. "Bid, ask and transaction prices in a specialist market with heterogeneously informed traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 71-100, March.
  4. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2005. "Herd Behavior in a Laboratory Financial Market," Experimental 0502002, EconWPA.
  5. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Joerg & Roider, Andreas, 2003. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets: An Internet Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6zf5469f, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  6. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2003. "Financial Crises as Herds: Overturning the Critiques," NBER Working Papers 9658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Smith, L. & Sorensen, P., 1996. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Working papers 96-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  9. Brunnermeier, Markus K., 2001. "Asset Pricing under Asymmetric Information: Bubbles, Crashes, Technical Analysis, and Herding," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296980.
  10. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2001. "Herd Behavior and Cascading in Capital Markets: A Review and Synthesis," MPRA Paper 5186, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Avery, Christopher & Zemsky, Peter, 1998. "Multidimensional Uncertainty and Herd Behavior in Financial Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 724-48, September.
  12. Sunil Sharma & Sushil Bikhchandani, 2000. "Herd Behavior in Financial Markets: A Review," IMF Working Papers 00/48, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Dasgupta, Amil & Prat, Andrea, 2005. "Asset Price Dynamics When Traders Care About Reputation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5372, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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