NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Shlomo Benartzi

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 1993Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle
with Richard H. Thaler: w4369
The equity premium puzzle, first documented by Mehra and Prescott, refers to the empirical fact that stocks have greatly outperformed bonds over the last century. As Mehra and Prescott point out, it appears difficult to explain the magnitude of the equity premium within the usual economics paradigm because the level of risk aversion necessary to justify such a large premium is implausibly large. We offer a new explanation based on Kahneman and Tversky's 'prospect theory'. The explanation has two components. First, investors are assumed to be 'loss averse' meaning they are distinctly more sensitive to losses than to gains. Second, investors are assumed to evaluate their portfolios frequently, even if they have long-term investment goals such as saving for retirement or managing a pension pl...

Published: Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 1995. citation courtesy of

 
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