Tech-Enabled Financial Data Access, Retail Investors, and Gambling-like Behavior in the Stock Market

94 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 25 Oct 2023

See all articles by Taha Havakhor

Taha Havakhor

Temple University- Fox School of Business

Mohammad Saifur Rahman

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Tianjian Zhang

California State University Dominguez Hills

Chenqi Zhu

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business

Date Written: April 25, 2021

Abstract

Advancements in technology have reduced information acquisition costs, creating an improved information environment for retail investors. Specifically, new technologies such as application programming interface (API) deliver high-volume, institutional-like raw data directly to Main Street investors. Although greater availability of information can be beneficial, it may also exacerbate retail investors’ existing trading deficiencies. Exploiting the sudden shutdown of Yahoo! Finance API, the largest free API for retail investors, this study examines how access to tech-enabled raw financial data affects retail investment. We find that retail trading volumes in stocks favored by active retail investors dropped by 8.6% to 10.5% within one month of the API shutdown. The remaining retail trades collectively became more predictive of future returns, suggesting less gambling-like behavior after the API shutdown. Moreover, our randomized controlled experiment affirms the underlying mechanism: tech-enabled access to high-volume historical price data increases individuals’ overconfidence, which further leads them to engage in excessive trading. The study reveals an unintended consequence of technology-led, wider data access for retail investors.

Keywords: retail investors, financial technology, gambling, noise trading, financial market, application programming interface, quasi-natural experiment, randomized controlled experiment

JEL Classification: G12, G14, O33, H41

Suggested Citation

Havakhor, Taha and Rahman, Mohammad Saifur and Zhang, Tianjian and Zhu, Chenqi, Tech-Enabled Financial Data Access, Retail Investors, and Gambling-like Behavior in the Stock Market (April 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3434812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3434812

Taha Havakhor

Temple University- Fox School of Business ( email )

201C Speakman Hall
1810 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6083
United States
(215)204-6945 (Phone)

Mohammad Saifur Rahman

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

403 W. State St
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States
765-494-4464 (Phone)

Tianjian Zhang (Contact Author)

California State University Dominguez Hills ( email )

1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson, CA 90747
United States

Chenqi Zhu

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business ( email )

Paul Merage School of Business
Irvine, CA California 92697-3125
United States

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