The 'Ostrich Effect': Selective Attention to Information About Investments
41 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2005
Date Written: May 5, 2005
We develop a model of selective attention to information and apply it to investors' decisions about whether to obtain information about the value of their portfolio. In our model investors receive information about the aggregate level of the market and then decide whether to look up the value of their personal portfolio. Doing so not only provides additional information, but also increases the psychological impact of information on utility - an impact effect - and increases the speed of a utility reference point adjustment - a reference point updating effect. The main prediction of the model is that investors will check the value of their portfolios more frequently in rising markets but will "put their heads in the sand" when markets are flat or falling. We test and find support for this prediction with three Scandinavian data sets.
Keywords: investor behavior, selective exposure, attention
JEL Classification: G10, D84
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation