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Does prospect theory explain the disposition effect?


Hens, Thorsten; Vlcek, Martin (2011). Does prospect theory explain the disposition effect? Journal of Behavioral Finance, 12(3):141-157.

Abstract

The disposition effect is the observation that investors hold winning stocks too long and sell losing stocks too early. A standard explanation of the disposition effect refers to prospect theory and in particular to the asymmetric risk aversion according to which investors are risk averse when faced with gains and risk-seeking when faced with losses. We show that for reasonable parameter values the disposition effect can however not be explained by prospect theory as proposed by Kahneman and Tversky. The reason is that those investors who sell winning stocks and hold loosing assets would in the frst place not have invested in stocks. That is to say the standard prospect theory argument is sound ex-post, assuming that the investment has taken place, but not ex-ante, requiring that the investment is made in the first place.

Abstract

The disposition effect is the observation that investors hold winning stocks too long and sell losing stocks too early. A standard explanation of the disposition effect refers to prospect theory and in particular to the asymmetric risk aversion according to which investors are risk averse when faced with gains and risk-seeking when faced with losses. We show that for reasonable parameter values the disposition effect can however not be explained by prospect theory as proposed by Kahneman and Tversky. The reason is that those investors who sell winning stocks and hold loosing assets would in the frst place not have invested in stocks. That is to say the standard prospect theory argument is sound ex-post, assuming that the investment has taken place, but not ex-ante, requiring that the investment is made in the first place.

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20 citations in Web of Science®
26 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:19 Oct 2011 08:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:02
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1542-7560
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/15427560.2011.601976

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