Stocks as Lotteries: the Implications of Probability Weighting for Security Prices
49 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2005
Date Written: February 2007
We study the asset pricing implications of Tversky and Kahneman's (1992) cumulative prospect theory, with particular focus on its probability weighting component. Our main result, derived from a novel equilibrium with non-unique global optima, is that, in contrast to the prediction of a standard expected utility model, a security's own skewness can be priced: a positively skewed security can be overpriced, and can earn a negative average excess return. Our results offer a unifying way of thinking about a number of seemingly unrelated financial phenomena, such as the low average return on IPOs, private equity, and distressed stocks; the diversification discount; the low valuation of certain equity stubs; the pricing of out-of-the-money options; and the lack of diversification in many household portfolios.
Keywords: prospect theory, asset pricing, skewness, under-diversification
JEL Classification: D1, D8, G11, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation