Investor Psychology in Capital Markets: Evidence and Policy Implications
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WORLD EQUITY MARKETS, Werner De Bondt, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., July 2005
Posted: 1 Dec 2008
We review extensive evidence about how psychological biases affect investor behavior and prices. Systematic mispricing probably causes substantial resource misallocation. We argue that limited attention and overconfidence cause investor credulity about the strategic incentives of informed market participants. However, individuals as political participants remain subject to the biases and self-interest they exhibit in private settings. Indeed, correcting contemporaneous market pricing errors is probably not government's relative advantage. Government and private planners should establish rules and procedures ex ante to improve choices and efficiency, including disclosure, reporting, advertising, and default-option-setting regulations. Especially, government should avoid actions that exacerbate investor biases.
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