Hollywood, Wall Street, and Mistrusting Individual Investors
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
Individual investors reduce their trading activity in financial markets after the release of negatively biased Hollywood movies related to financial markets. These movies regularly depict financial markets and professionals active in them as marked by greed and corruption (Lichter et al. 1997). This decline in trading activity at the extensive margin comes together with depressed investor sentiment marked by higher likelihoods and volumes of selling than of buying transactions by those investors still active. Their avoidance of investing in and tendency to trade out of stocks related to companies in the financial industry, as well as their shift from actively managed mutual funds to passive vehicles (ETFs), provide evidence for the deterioration of investors’ trust in the financial industry and its managers. This channel is in line with existing literature on subjective beliefs in investment decisions and the impact of biased media coverage, such as the negative depiction of financial markets, shareholders, and managers in Hollywood movies.
Tail-risk Protection Trading Strategies
Starting from well-known empirical stylized facts of financial time series, we develop dynamic portfolio protection trading strategies based on econometric methods. As a criterion for riskiness, we consider the evolution of the value-at-risk spread from a GARCH model with normal innovations relative to a GARCH model with generalized innovations. These generalized innovations may for example follow a Student t, a generalized hyperbolic, an alpha-stable or a Generalized Pareto distribution (GPD). Our results indicate that the GPD distribution provides the strongest signals for avoiding tail risks. This is not surprising as the GPD distribution arises as a limit of tail behaviour in extreme value theory and therefore is especially suited to deal with tail risks. Out-of-sample backtests on 11 years of DAX futures data, indicate that the dynamic tail-risk protection strategy effectively reduces the tail risk while outperforming traditional portfolio protection strategies. The results are further validated by calculating the statistical significance of the results obtained using bootstrap methods. A number of robustness tests including application to other assets further underline the effectiveness of the strategy. Finally, by empirically testing for second-order stochastic dominance, we find that risk averse investors would be willing to pay a positive premium to move from a static buy-and-hold investment in the DAX future to the tail-risk protection strategy.
The Impact of Risk Attitudes on Financial Investments
IWH Discussion Papers,
Several scholars analyze the relationship between individuals’ willingness to take risks and financial investment decisions. We add to this literature in using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel which allow ruling out that investments in risky assets itself impact on risk attitudes. We show that individuals with a higher willingness to take risks are more likely to hold bonds, stocks, and company assets. When grouping individuals into risk groups, our results reveal that high risk takers are also less likely to own a life insurance. If endogenous adaption of risk attitudes from holding assets in previous years is not taken into account, the impact of risk attitudes on holding risky assets is upward biased.
Size and Focus of a Venture Capitalist's Portfolio
Review of Financial Studies,
We take a portfolio approach to analyze the investment strategy of a venture capitalist (VC) and show that portfolio size and scope affect both the entrepreneurs' and the VC's incentives to exert effort. A small portfolio improves entrepreneurial incentives because it allows the VC to concentrate the limited human capital on a smaller number of startups, adding more value. A large and focused portfolio is beneficial because it allows the VC to reallocate the limited resources and human capital in the case of startup failure and allows the VC to extract greater rents from the entrepreneurs. We show that the VC finds it optimal to limit portfolio size when startups have higher payoff potential - that is, when providing strong entrepreneurial incentives is most valuable. The VC expands portfolio size only when startup fundamentals are more moderate and when he can form a sufficiently focused portfolio. Finally, we show that the VC may find it optimal to engage in portfolio management by divesting some of the startups early since this strategy allows him to extract a greater surplus.