Finance for Normal People: How Investors and Markets Behave (Introduction)
Finance for Normal People: How Investors and Markets Behave, Oxford University Press, 2017
8 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2017
Behavioral finance presented in Finance for Normal People is a second generation behavioral finance. The first generation, starting in the early 1980s, largely accepted standard finance’s notion of people’s wants as “rational” wants – restricted to the utilitarian benefits of high returns and low risk. That first generation commonly described people as “irrational” - succumbing to cognitive and emotional errors and misled on their way to their rational wants. The second generation describes people as normal. It begins by acknowledging the full range of people’s normal wants - hope for riches and freedom from the fear of poverty, nurturing our children and families, being true to our values, gaining high social status, playing games and winning, and more. It distinguishes normal wants from errors, and offers guidance on using shortcuts and avoiding errors on the way to satisfying normal wants. People’s normal wants, even more than their cognitive and emotional shortcuts and errors, underlie answers to important questions of finance, including saving and spending, portfolio construction, asset pricing, and market efficiency. These are presented in this book.
We often hear that behavioral finance is nothing more than a collection of stories about irrational people misled by cognitive and emotional errors, that it lacks the unified structure of standard finance. Yet today's standard finance is no longer unified because wide cracks have opened between its theory and the evidence. This book offers behavioral finance as a unified structure that incorporates parts of standard finance, replaces others, and includes bridges between theory, evidence, and practice.
Keywords: behavioral finance, portfolios, asset pricing, market efficiency, saving
JEL Classification: G0, G1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation