48 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008 Last revised: 17 Jun 2021
Date Written: October 2008
A number of authors have suggested that investors derive utility from realizing gains and losses on assets that they own. We present a model of this "realization utility," analyze its predictions, and show that it can shed light on a number of puzzling facts. These include the disposition effect, the poor trading performance of individual investors, the higher volume of trade in rising markets, the effect of historical highs on the propensity to sell, the individual investor preference for volatile stocks, the low average return of volatile stocks, and the heavy trading associated with highly valued assets.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation