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Status quo bias and the number of alternatives: An empirical illustration from the mutual fund industry

  • Kempf, Alexander
  • Ruenzi, Stefan

We examine the extent of the Status Quo Bias (SQB) in a real-world repeated decision situation. Individuals who are subject to a SQB tend to choose an alternative that was chosen previously (i.e. their status quo), even if it is not the optimal choice any more. We examine the US equity mutual fund market and find strong evidence for the existence of a SQB in this market. Furthermore, the SQB is more severe in segments where there are more funds to choose from. Thereby, we deliver the first empirical confirmation of the experimental result of Samuelson and Zeckhauser (1988), that the SQB positively depends on the number of alternatives.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR) in its series CFR Working Papers with number 05-07.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:0507
Contact details of provider: Postal: 0221 / 470 5607
Phone: 0221 / 470 5607
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Web page: http://cfr-cologne.de/english/version06/html/home.php
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  1. Harless, David W. & Peterson, Steven P., 1998. "Investor behavior and the persistence of poorly-performing mutual funds," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 257-276, November.
  2. Diane Del Guercio & Paula A. Tkac, 2001. "Star power: the effect of Morningstar ratings on mutual fund flows," Working Paper 2001-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  3. Chevalier, J. & Ellison, G., 1996. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Working papers 96-3, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  5. Daniel Bergstresser & James Poterba, 2000. "Do After-Tax Returns Affect Mutual Fund Inflows?," NBER Working Papers 7595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  7. Woerheide, Walt, 1982. "Investor Response to Suggested Criteria for the Selection of Mutual Funds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 129-137, March.
  8. Alexander Kempf & Stefan Ruenzi, 2004. "Family Matters: The Performance Flow Relationship in the Mutual Fund Industry," Finance 0404012, EconWPA, revised 26 May 2004.
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