How to Alleviate Correlation Neglect

96 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2017 Last revised: 2 Jun 2019

See all articles by Christine Laudenbach

Christine Laudenbach

Goethe University Frankfurt

Michael Ungeheuer

Aalto University

Martin Weber

University of Mannheim - Department of Banking and Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 9, 2019


We experimentally study how presentation formats for return distributions affect investors' diversification choices. We find that sampling returns alleviates correlation neglect and constitutes an effective way to improve financial decisions. When participants get a description of probabilities for outcomes of the joint return distribution, we confirm the common finding that investors neglect the correlation between assets in their diversification choices. However, when participants sample from the joint distribution, they incorporate correlation into choices as predicted by normative theory. Results are robust across three experiments with varying expertise and experience of participants (students vs. investors), and varying return distributions (discrete, continuous).

Keywords: Correlation Neglect, Diversification, Fintech, Investment Decisions, Risk Taking

JEL Classification: C91, G02, G11

Suggested Citation

Laudenbach, Christine and Ungeheuer, Michael and Weber, Martin, How to Alleviate Correlation Neglect (May 9, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Christine Laudenbach (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Gr├╝neburgplatz 1
Frankfurt, 60323

Michael Ungeheuer

Aalto University ( email )

P.O.Box 21210
Aalto, 00076


Martin Weber

University of Mannheim - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
+49 621 181 1532 (Phone)
+49 621 181 1534 (Fax)

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