Learning from Coworkers: Peer Effects on Individual Investment Decisions

47 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017 Last revised: 28 Mar 2021

See all articles by Paige Ouimet

Paige Ouimet

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

Geoffrey Tate

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

We use unique data on employee decisions in the employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) of U.S. public firms to measure the influence of networks on investment decisions. Comparing only employees within a firm during the same election window and controlling for a metro area fixed effect, we find that the local choices of coworkers to participate in the firm’s ESPP exert a significant influence on employees’ own decisions to participate. Local coworkers’ trading patterns also disseminate to colleagues through the network. In the cross-section, we find that some employees (men, younger workers) are particularly susceptible to peer influence. Generally, we find that more similar employees exert greater influence on each other’s decisions and, particularly, that high (low) information employees are most affected by other high (low) information employees. However, we also find that the presence of high information employees magnifies the effects of peer networks. We trace a value-increasing investment choice through employee networks. Thus, our analysis suggests the potential of networks and targeted investor education to improve financial decision-making.

Suggested Citation

Ouimet, Paige and Tate, Geoffrey, Learning from Coworkers: Peer Effects on Individual Investment Decisions (November 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3077786

Paige Ouimet (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

Geoffrey Tate

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
16
Abstract Views
477
PlumX Metrics