Human behaviour in times of financial crises is difficult to understand, but critical to policymaking. This column discusses new evidence showing that personal experience in financial markets can dramatically change risk tolerance. A cleanly identified historical episode demonstrates that even without losses, negative shocks not only modify risk appetite, but can also create ‘leverage cycles’. These, in turn, have the potential to make markets extremely fragile. Remarkably, those who witnessed this episode but were not directly threatened by it, did not change their own behaviour. Thus, personal experience can be a powerful determinant of investors’ actions and can eventually affect aggregate instability.
Peter Koudijs, Hans-Joachim Voth, Saturday, April 12, 2014
James Andreoni, Laura Katherine Gee, Tuesday, June 14, 2011
How should a small organisation – a firm, a university, a sports team – encourage good behaviour? While punishment can often make things worse, this column proposes and tests a method the authors call the “hired gun”. By punishing only the worst offender, everyone is given an incentive to be the second-worst offender. If everyone follows that strategy, good behaviour soon follows.
Shannon Mudd, Konstantin Pashev, Neven Valev, Sunday, January 2, 2011
The systemic and macroeconomic issues associated with a banking crisis are much in the news. This column focuses on the impact on individuals, particularly those who experienced losses, and presents evidence of effects on their expectations and behaviour lasting a decade or more.
Paola Sapienza, Ernesto Reuben, Luigi Zingales, Monday, January 28, 2008
Are impatient people also likely to procrastinate? While these two behavioural characteristics are often said to be linked, the authors of CEPR DP6668 use lab, field and survey evidence to test this link empirically and discover that it does exist.