How Does Investor Confidence Lead to Trading? Linking Investor Return Experiences, Confidence, and Investment Beliefs
55 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2013 Last revised: 19 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 2, 2016
Confident investors trade more than less confident investors, but why? Prior research tests the ultimate relation between investor confidence and trading, but does not empirically examine the underlying mechanism that explains why confidence leads to trading. We complement the literature by developing a theoretical framework and presenting empirical evidence on a psychologically plausible mechanism through which confidence leads to trading. Using a combination of individual investors’ brokerage records and matching monthly survey data, we show that more confident investors rely more on intuitive judgments when forming beliefs about expected returns. In particular, they rely more on naïve reinforcement learning and extrapolate individual return experiences into the future more strongly. Given the same return experience, more confident investors change their beliefs more strongly, providing more reason to trade. Ultimately, confident investors have higher turnover, which hurts their performance.
Keywords: Belief Formation, Investor Confidence, Naïve Reinforcement Learning, Return Experiences, Trading
JEL Classification: D14, D81, D83, D84, G02, G11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation