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Prospect Theory and Asset Prices

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  • NICHOLAS BARBERIS
  • MING HUANG
  • TANO SANTOS

Abstract

We propose a new framework for pricing assets, derived in part from the traditional consumption-based approach, but which also incorporates two long-standing ideas in psychology: prospect theory, and evidence on how prior outcomes affect risky choice. Consistent with prospect theory, the investor in our model derives utility not only from consumption levels but also from changes in the value of his financial wealth. He is much more sensitive to reductions in wealth than to increases, the ``loss-aversion'' feature of prospect utility. Moreover consistent with experimental evidence, the utility he receives from gains and losses in wealth depends on his prior investment outcomes; prior gains cushion subsequent losses -- the so-called 'house-money' effect -- while prior losses intensify the pain of subsequent shortfalls. We study asset prices in the presence of agents with preferences of this type, and find that our model reproduces the high mean, volatility, and predictability of stock returns. The key to our results is that the agent's risk-aversion changes over time as a function of his investment performance. This makes prices much more volatile than underlying dividends and together with the investor's loss-aversion, leads to large equity premia. Our results obtain with reasonable values for all parameters.
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Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, "undated". "Prospect Theory and Asset Prices," CRSP working papers 494, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:chispw:494
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    Cited by:

    1. Ågren, Martin, 2005. "Myopic Loss Aversion, the Equity Premium Puzzle, and GARCH," Working Paper Series 2005:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Matthew C. Li, 2003. "Wealth, Volume and Stock Market Volatility: Case of Hong Kong (1993-2001)," Trinity Economics Papers 20035, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    3. Yacine Aït-Sahalia, 2001. "Variable Selection for Portfolio Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1297-1351, August.
    4. John Y. Campbell, 2000. "Asset Pricing at the Millennium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1515-1567, August.
    5. Pietro Veronesi, "undated". "Belief-dependent Utilities, Aversion to State-Uncertainty and Asset Prices,”," CRSP working papers 529, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    6. Patricia Tovar, 2004. "The Effects of Loss Aversion on Trade Policy and the Anti-Trade Bias Puzzle," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 499, Econometric Society.
    7. John Heaton & Deborah J. Lucas, 2000. "Stock prices and fundamentals," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Apr.
    8. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Liu, Jun, 2005. "Why stocks may disappoint," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 471-508, June.
    9. Curatola, Giuliano & Faia, Ester, 2016. "Divergent Risk-Attitudes and Endogenous Collateral Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 11678, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Rapach, David E. & Wohar, Mark E., 2009. "Multi-period portfolio choice and the intertemporal hedging demands for stocks and bonds: International evidence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 427-453, April.
    11. Zin, Stanley E., 2002. "Are behavioral asset-pricing models structural?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 215-228, January.
    12. Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Inference by Believers in the Law of Small Numbers," Economics Working Papers E00-282, University of California at Berkeley.
    13. Stracca, Livio, 2004. "Behavioral finance and asset prices: Where do we stand?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 373-405, June.
    14. Levy, Haim & Levy, Moshe, 2002. "Experimental test of the prospect theory value function: A stochastic dominance approach," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 1058-1081, November.
    15. Fielding, David & Stracca, Livio, 2007. "Myopic loss aversion, disappointment aversion, and the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 250-268, October.
    16. Aaron Tornell, 2000. "Robust-H-infinity Forecasting and Asset Pricing Anomalies," NBER Working Papers 7753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Masini, Andrea & Menichetti, Emanuela, 2012. "The impact of behavioural factors in the renewable energy investment decision making process: Conceptual framework and empirical findings," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 28-38.
    18. Aaron Tornell, 2003. "Robust-H_infinity Forecasting and Asset Pricing Anomalies (December 2001)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 237, UCLA Department of Economics.
    19. Tan Wang, 2000. "Updating Rules for Non-Bayesian Preferences," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0157, Econometric Society.
    20. Tomoyuki Nakajima, 2003. "Sunspot Fluctuations in Asset Prices and Business Cycles in Japan Over 1986-1999," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 253-274.
    21. Dacorogna, Michel M. & Gençay, Ramazan & Müller, Ulrich A. & Pictet, Olivier V., 2001. "Effective return, risk aversion and drawdowns," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 289(1), pages 229-248.
    22. Mark E. Wohar & David E. Rapach, 2005. "Return Predictability and the Implied Intertemporal Hedging Demands for Stocks and Bonds: International Evidence," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 329, Society for Computational Economics.
    23. Ajay Bhootra & Jungshik Hur, 2015. "High Idiosyncratic Volatility and Low Returns: A Prospect Theory Explanation," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 44(2), pages 295-322, June.
    24. Lynch, Anthony W., 2001. "Portfolio choice and equity characteristics: characterizing the hedging demands induced by return predictability," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 67-130, October.

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    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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