Portfolio Inertia and Stock Market Fluctuations

40 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2009

See all articles by Yannis Bilias

Yannis Bilias

Athens University of Economics and Business

Dimitris Georgarakos

European Central Bank (ECB) - Directorate General Research; Center for Financial Studies (CFS)

Michael Haliassos

Goethe University Frankfurt - House of Finance; Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; CEPR; NETSPAR

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2009

Abstract

Existing studies of household stock trading using administrative data offer conflicting results: discount brokerage accounts exhibit excessive trading, while retirement accounts show inactivity. This paper uses population-wide data from PSID and SCF to examine the overall extent of household portfolio inertia in participation and trading and its link to household characteristics and stock market movements. We document considerable portfolio inertia, linked to characteristics (e.g., low education or limited resources), but hardly to index movements. The downswing seems to have encouraged staying out, rather than getting out of the market. We find important differences in trading patterns of the small minority with brokerage accounts relative to the population; and small fractions of owners' wealth in those accounts. Our findings strengthen the case for default options in retirement accounts and for funds with built-in trading provisions. While households did not overreact to the downswing through massive sales or exits, this seems more a manifestation of widespread inertia than of optimal response to stock market fluctuations.

Keywords: household finance, portfolio inertia, stock trading, Stockholding

JEL Classification: E21, G11

Suggested Citation

Bilias, Yannis and Georgarakos, Dimitris and Haliassos, Michael, Portfolio Inertia and Stock Market Fluctuations (March 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7239. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1372559

Yannis Bilias

Athens University of Economics and Business ( email )

76 Patission Street
Athens, 104 34
Greece

Dimitris Georgarakos

European Central Bank (ECB) - Directorate General Research ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 20
Frankfurt am Main, 60314
Germany

Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

Gr├╝neburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

Michael Haliassos (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt - House of Finance

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
PF H32
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
PF H32
Frankfurt am Main, D-60323
Germany

CEPR

London
United Kingdom

NETSPAR ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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