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Mental capabilities, trading styles, and asset market bubbles: theory and experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Hefti
  • Steve Heinke
  • Frédéric Schneider

Abstract

We propose that heterogeneous asset trading behavior is the result of two distinct, non-convertible mental dimensions: analytical (“quantitative”) capability and mentalizing (“perspective-taking”) capability. We develop a framework of mental capabilities that yields testable predictions about individual trading behavior, revenue distribution and aggregate outcomes. The two-dimensional structure of mental capabilities predicts the existence of four mental types with distinguishable trading patterns and revenues. Individuals will trade most successfully if and only if they have both capabilities. On the other hand, subjects who can mentalize well but have poor analytical capability will suffer the largest losses. As a consequence, being able in just one dimension does not assure trading success. We test these implications in a laboratory environment, where we first independently elicit subjects’ capabilities in both dimensions and then conduct a standard asset market experiment. We find that individual trading gains and patterns are consistent with our theoretical predictions. Our results suggest that two mental dimensions are necessary to encompass the complex heterogeneous behaviors in asset markets; a one-dimensional measure of mental capability will lead to biased conclusions. The findings have potential implications for financial institutions, which can use the measures to select successful traders, or for policy-makers, helping them to prevent the formation of asset bubbles. Finally, our conceptual framework and the empirical screening method could be applied to explain heterogeneous behavior in other games.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Hefti & Steve Heinke & Frédéric Schneider, 2016. "Mental capabilities, trading styles, and asset market bubbles: theory and experiment," ECON - Working Papers 234, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:234
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp234.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2018. "Cognitive bubbles," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(1), pages 132-153, March.
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    4. Noussair, C.N. & Tucker, S. & Xu, Yilong, 2014. "A Future Market Reduces Bubbles but Allows Greater Profit for More Sophisticated Traders," Discussion Paper 2014-051, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Kaizoji, Taisei & Leiss, Matthias & Saichev, Alexander & Sornette, Didier, 2015. "Super-exponential endogenous bubbles in an equilibrium model of fundamentalist and chartist traders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 289-310.
    6. Cueva, Carlos & Rustichini, Aldo, 2015. "Is financial instability male-driven? Gender and cognitive skills in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 330-344.
    7. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán González & Praveen Kujal & David Porter, 2013. "The Effect of Earned vs. House Money on Price Bubble Formation in Experimental Asset Markets," Working Papers 13-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    8. Luik, Marc-André & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2016. "Immigrant-native differences in stockholding – The role of cognitive and non-cognitive skills," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 103-119.
    9. Breaban, Adriana & Noussair, Charles N., 2015. "Trader characteristics and fundamental value trajectories in an asset market experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(C), pages 1-17.
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    11. Janssen, Dirk-Jan & Weitzel, Utz & Füllbrunn, Sascha, 2015. "Speculative Bubbles - An introduction and application of the Speculation Elicitation Task (SET)," MPRA Paper 63028, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brice Corgnet & Mark Desantis & David Porter, 2018. "What Makes a Good Trader? On the Role of Intuition and Reflection on Trader Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 73(3), pages 1113-1137, June.
    2. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Eizo Akiyama & Yukihiko Funaki & Ryuichiro Ishikawa, 2017. "Diversity in Cognitive Ability Enlarges Mispricing in Experimental Asset Markets," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-08, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    3. Kocher, Martin G. & Lucks, Konstantin E. & Schindler, David, 2016. "Unleashing Animal Spirits - Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Discussion Papers in Economics 27572, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Lau Lilleholt, 2019. "Cognitive ability and risk aversion: A systematic review and meta analysis," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 14(3), pages 234-279, May.
    5. Corgnet, Brice & Hernán-González, Roberto & Kujal, Praveen, 2020. "On booms that never bust: Ambiguity in experimental asset markets with bubbles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    6. Brice Corgnet & Mark DeSantis & David Porter, 2020. "Information Aggregation and the Cognitive Make-up of Traders," Working Papers 20-18, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    7. Dickinson, David L. & Chaudhuri, Ananish & Greenaway-McGrevy, Ryan, 2017. "Trading While Sleepy? Circadian Mismatch and Excess Volatility in a Global Experimental Asset Market," IZA Discussion Papers 10984, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Corgnet, Brice & DeSantis, Mark & Porter, David, 2020. "The distribution of information and the price efficiency of markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    9. Lambrecht, Marco & Sofianos, Andis & Xu, Yilong, 2020. "Does mining fuel bubbles? An experimental study on cryptocurrency markets," Working Papers 0690, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    10. Corgnet, Brice & Deck, Cary & DeSantis, Mark & Porter, David, 2018. "Information (non)aggregation in markets with costly signal acquisition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 286-320.
    11. Butler, David & Cheung, Stephen L., 2018. "Mind, Body, Bubble! Psychological and Biophysical Dimensions of Behavior in Experimental Asset Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 11563, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Martin G Kocher & Konstantin E Lucks & David Schindler, 2019. "Unleashing Animal Spirits: Self-Control and Overpricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(6), pages 2149-2178.
    13. David L. Dickinson & Ananish Chaudhuri & Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy, 2020. "Trading while sleepy? Circadian mismatch and mispricing in a global experimental asset market," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 526-553, June.
    14. Marquardt, Philipp & Noussair, Charles N & Weber, Martin, 2019. "Rational expectations in an experimental asset market with shocks to market trends," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 116-140.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset markets; heterogeneity; mental capabilities;

    JEL classification:

    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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