Resolving the Excessive Trading Puzzle: An Integrated Approach Based on Surveys and Transactions
NBER Working Paper No. 26911
The behavioral finance literature has provided over a dozen explanations for the so-called excessive trading puzzle – retail investors trade a lot even though more trading hurts their performance. It is difficult to use transaction data to differentiate these explanations as they share similar predictions by design. To confront this challenge, we design and administer a nation-wide survey among retail investors to elicit their responses to an exhaustive list of trading motives. By merging survey responses with account-level transaction data, we validate survey responses with actual trading behaviors and compare the power of survey-based and transaction-based measures of trading motives. A horse race among survey-based trading motives suggests that overconfidence in having information advantage and gambling preference quantitatively dominate other explanations. Moreover, other popular arguments such as neglect of trading cost do not contribute to excessive trading.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26911