Online Investors: Do the Slow Die First?
47 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2000
Date Written: December 1999
We examine changes in the stock trading behavior and investment performance of 1,607 investors who switch from phone based to online trading during the period 1992 to 1995. We document that young men who are active traders with high incomes and a preference for investing in small growth stocks with high market risk are more likely to switch to online trading. We also find that those who switch to online trading experience unusually strong performance prior to going online, beating the market by more than two percent annually. After going online, they trade more actively, more speculatively, and less profitably than before -- lagging the market by more than three percent annually. A rational response to reductions in market frictions (lower trading costs, improved execution speed, and greater ease of access) does not explain these findings. The increase in trading and reduction in performance of online investors can be explained by overconfidence augmented by self-attribution bias, the illusion of knowledge, and the illusion of control.
JEL Classification: G00, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation