Camelia M. Kuhnen

University of North Carolina
Kenan-Flagler Business School
300 Kenan Center Drive, MC #4407
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Tel: 919/962-3284
Fax: 919/962-2068

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: AP
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2017The Effect of Prior Choices on Expectations and Subsequent Portfolio Decisions
with Sarah Rudorf, Bernd Weber: w23438
We document that prior portfolio choices influence investors' expectations about asset values, and their future choices. We find that people update more from information consistent with their prior choices, leading to sticky portfolios over time. These effects are related to how the brain's valuation centers encode new information about assets and about the trader's own success. These findings provide microfoundations for theoretical models where agents learn jointly about their skill and about asset values, leading to disagreement, and offer a common explanation for several puzzling investor behaviors, specifically, households' low stock market participation rate, and the disposition and repurchase effects.
January 2017Non-Cognitive Abilities and Financial Delinquency: The Role of Self-Efficacy in Avoiding Financial Distress
with Brian T. Melzer: w23028
We investigate a novel determinant of household financial delinquency, namely, people’s subjective expectations regarding the cost-benefit trade-off in default decisions. These expectations are determined by individuals’ self-efficacy, which is a non-cognitive ability that measures how strongly people believe that their effort will influence future outcomes. Using longitudinal household survey data, we show that people with higher self-efficacy, measured earlier in life, are less likely to be financially delinquent later on and to face consequences such as losing assets or access to traditional credit markets, are more likely to prepare for dealing with potential adverse shocks such as a job loss or a health event, and when faced with such shocks, are less likely to become financially deli...
May 2015Socioeconomic Status and Learning from Financial Information
with Andrei C. Miu: w21214
The majority of lower socioeconomic status (SES) households do not have any stock investments, which is detrimental to wealth accumulation. Here, we examine one potential driver of this puzzling fact, namely, that SES may influence the process by which people learn from information in financial markets. In an experimental setting we find that low SES participants, relative to medium or high SES ones, form more pessimistic beliefs about the distribution of stock investment outcomes and are less likely to invest in stocks. The pessimism bias in assessing risky assets induced by low SES is robust to several ways of measuring one’s socioeconomic standing and it replicates out of sample. These results suggest that SES shapes in predictable ways people’s beliefs about financial assets, which in ...

Published: Kuhnen, Camelia M. & Miu, Andrei C., 2017. "Socioeconomic status and learning from financial information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 349-372. citation courtesy of

January 2015Exploration for Human Capital: Evidence from the MBA Labor Market
with Paul Oyer: w20825
We empirically investigate the effect of uncertainty on corporate hiring. Using novel data from the labor market for MBA graduates, we show that uncertainty regarding how well job candidates fit with a firm’s industry hinders hiring, and that firms value probationary work arrangements that provide the option to learn more about potential full-time employees. The detrimental effect of uncertainty on hiring is more pronounced when firms face greater firing and replacement costs, and when they face less direct competition from other similar firms. These results suggest that firms faced with uncertainty use similar considerations when making hiring decisions as when making decisions regarding investment in physical capital.

Published: Camelia M. Kuhnen & Paul Oyer, 2016. "Exploration for Human Capital: Evidence from the MBA Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S2), pages S000 - S000. citation courtesy of

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