NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Realization Utility

Nicholas C. Barberis, Wei Xiong

NBER Working Paper No. 14440
Issued in October 2008
NBER Program(s):   AP

A number of authors have suggested that investors derive utility from realizing gains and losses on assets that they own. We present a model of this “realization utility,” analyze its predictions, and show that it can shed light on a number of puzzling facts. These include the disposition effect, the poor trading performance of individual investors, the higher volume of trade in rising markets, the effect of historical highs on the propensity to sell, the individual investor preference for volatile stocks, the low average return of volatile stocks, and the heavy trading associated with highly valued assets.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14440

Published: Barberis, Nicholas & Xiong, Wei, 2012. "Realization utility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 251-271.

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