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When Herding and Contrarianism Foster Market Efficiency : A Financial Trading Experiment

Author

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  • Park, Andreas

    (University of Toronto)

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

While herding has long been suspected to play a role in financial market booms and busts, theoretical analyses have struggled to identify conclusive causes for the effect. Recent theoretical work shows that informational herding is possible in a market with efficient asset prices if information is bi-polar, and contrarianism is possible with single-polar information. We present an experimental test for the validity of this theory, contrasting with all existing experiments where rational herding was theoretically impossible and subsequently not observed. Overall we observe that subjects generally behave according to theoretical predictions, yet the fit is lower for types who have the theoretical potential to herd. While herding is often not observed when predicted by theory, herding (sometimes irrational) does occur. Irrational contrarianism in particular leads observed prices to substantially differ from the efficient benchmark. Alternative models of behavior, such as risk aversion, loss aversion or error correction, either perform quite poorly or add little to our understanding.

Suggested Citation

  • Park, Andreas & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "When Herding and Contrarianism Foster Market Efficiency : A Financial Trading Experiment," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 854, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:854
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    File URL: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_854.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mathias Drehmann & Jörg Oechssler & Andreas Roider, 2005. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets: An Internet Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1403-1426, December.
    2. Cipriani Marco & Guarino Antonio, 2008. "Herd Behavior and Contagion in Financial Markets," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-56, October.
    3. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2005. "Herd Behavior in a Laboratory Financial Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1427-1443, December.
    4. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    5. Chari, V. V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 2004. "Financial crises as herds: overturning the critiques," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 128-150, November.
    6. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
    7. Park, A. & Sgroi, D., 2009. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets: An Experimental Analysis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0938, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. Brunnermeier, Markus K., 2001. "Asset Pricing under Asymmetric Information: Bubbles, Crashes, Technical Analysis, and Herding," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296980.
    9. Andreas Park & Hamid Sabourian, 2011. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 973-1026, July.
    10. Lones Smith & Peter Sorensen, 2000. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 371-398, March.
    11. Jonathan E. Alevy & Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2007. "Information Cascades: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Financial Market Professionals," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 151-180, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cipriani Marco & Guarino Antonio, 2008. "Herd Behavior and Contagion in Financial Markets," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-56, October.
    2. Asen Ivanov & Dan Levin & James Peck, 2009. "Hindsight, Foresight, and Insight: An Experimental Study of a Small-Market Investment Game with Common and Private Values," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1484-1507, September.
    3. repec:spr:jeicoo:v:12:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11403-015-0156-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Andreas Park & Daniel Sgroi, 2008. "Herding and Contrarianism in a Financial Trading Experiment with Endogenous Timing," Working Papers tecipa-341, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    5. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2008. "Thought and Behavior Contagion in Capital Markets," MPRA Paper 9164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jesse Russell, 2012. "Herding and the shifting determinants of exchange rate regime choice," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(32), pages 4187-4197, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Herding ; Informational Efficiency ; Experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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