Subjective Extremeness: Contrast Effects in the Perception of Stock Returns
61 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021 Last revised: 25 Sep 2022
Date Written: March 15, 2021
Stock returns convey information to investors about fundamental values. But, do all investors perceive the same stock return in the same way? Using a large dataset of retail investor trading decisions, we show that different investors respond differently to the same return, and that these differences are driven by the comparison of the return to investors' personal return experiences from the small set of stocks they own. The effect is economically large, robust to model specification, and stronger when investors are more likely to remember their return experiences. Overall, our findings suggest that contrast effects create considerable subjectivity in the perception of stock returns.
Keywords: contrast effects, salience, stock trading
JEL Classification: G11, G02, D14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation