Investor Attention and Investor Characteristics

36 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2012 Last revised: 26 Jun 2017

See all articles by Hang Dong

Hang Dong

IE University

Javier Gil-Bazo

Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)

Date Written: May 1, 2017


We examine the proposition that investor attention affects the optimality of financial decisions. Using a novel dataset on the sociodemographic characteristics of visitors to mutual fund websites, we link the characteristics of investors to the characteristics of mutual funds that capture their attention. We report empirical evidence that the characteristics of individuals are systematically associated with fund characteristics that predict performance. Mutual funds with a higher fraction of female, older, and low-income visitors have a higher probability of underperforming. We also find that differences in attention allocation decisions across visitor groups can be explained by differences in their sensitivity to past performance and fund fees. Finally, there is limited evidence that fund marketing can explain why some groups of visitors pay attention to funds that can be predicted to underperform. In sum, we provide evidence that attention may explain, at least partially, the suboptimal financial decisions of some investors.

Keywords: Investor attention; Investor characteristics; Mutual fund performance; Mutual fund characteristics; Financial decisions

JEL Classification: G11, G2, G23

Suggested Citation

Dong, Hang and Gil-Bazo, Javier, Investor Attention and Investor Characteristics (May 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Hang Dong

IE University ( email )

Calle Cardenal Zuñiga, 12.
Segovia, 40003

Javier Gil-Bazo (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005

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