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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

    as
    1. Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2015. "Cognitive bubbles," Economics Working Papers 1464, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
      • Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2015. "Cognitive Bubbles," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2015-006, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
      • Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2015. "Cognitive Bubbles," Working Papers 2015006, Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science (BDPEMS).
    2. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Eizo Akiyama & Yukihiko Funaki & Ryuichiro Ishikawa, 2017. "Diversity in Cognitive Ability Enlarges Mispricing in Experimental Asset Markets," Working Papers halshs-01202088, HAL.
    3. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Eizo Akiyama & Yukihiko Funaki & Ryuichiro Ishikawa, 2015. "Diversity in Cognitive Ability Enlarges Mispricing," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-29, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:kap:expeco:v:21:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10683-017-9529-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:eee:beexfi:v:8:y:2015:i:c:p:1-17 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898.
    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. 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.
    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), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    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. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Butler, David & Cheung, Stephen L., 2018. "Mind, Body, Bubble! Psychological and Biophysical Dimensions of Behavior in Experimental Asset Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 11563, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Brice Corgnet & Cary Deck & Mark Desantis & David Porter, 2017. "Information (Non)Aggregation in Markets with Costly Signal Acquisition," Working Papers halshs-01686493, HAL.

    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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