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Research papers

Here we broadcast academic papers and reports by members of the MiDa team


Can Security Design Foster Household Risk-Taking?, with Laurent E. Calvet, Claire Celerier and Boris Vallee. Journal of Finance, Forthcoming, 2022

Abstract: This paper shows that securities with non-linear payoff designs can foster household risk-taking. We demonstrate this effect by exploiting the introduction of capital guarantee products in Sweden between 2002 and 2007. Their fast and broad adoption is associated with an increase in expected financial portfolio returns. The effect is especially strong for households with low risk appetite ex ante. These empirical facts are consistent with a life-cycle model in which households have pessimistic beliefs or preferences combining loss aversion and narrow framing. Our results illustrate how security design can mitigate behavioral biases to increase mean household portfolio returns.

Rich Pickings? Risk, Return, and Skill in Household Wealth, with L. Bach and L. Calvet, American Economic Review. vol. 110, pp. 2703-47, 2022

Abstract: We investigate wealth returns on an administrative panel containing the disaggregated balance sheets of Swedish residents. The expected return on household net wealth is strongly persistent, determined primarily by systematic risk, and increasing in net worth, exceeding the risk-free rate by the size of the equity premium for households in the top 0.01 percent. Idiosyncratic risk is transitory but generates substantial long-term dispersion in returns in top brackets. Systematic and idiosyncratic risk both drive the cross-sectional distribution of the geometric average return over a generation. Furthermore, wealth returns explain most of the historical increase in top wealth shares.

Who are the Value and Growth Investors?, with S. Betermier and L. Calvet. Journal of Finance, vol 72, pp. 5-46, 2017

Abstract: This paper investigates value and growth investing in a large administrative panel of Swedish residents. We show that, over the life cycle, households progressively shift from growth to value as they become older and their balance sheets improve. Furthermore, investors with high human capital and high exposure to macroeconomic risk tilt their portfolios away from value. While several behavioral biases seem evident in the data, the patterns we uncover are overall remarkably consistent with the portfolio implications of risk-based theories of the value premium.

Twin Picks: Disentangling The Determinants of Risk Taking in Household Portfolios, with Laurent Calvet . Journal of Finance, vol 69, pp. 867-906, 2014

Abstract: This paper investigates risk-taking in the liquid portfolios held by a large panel of Swedish twins. We document that the portfolio share invested in risky assets is an increasing and concave function of financial wealth, leading to different risk sensitivities across investors. Human capital, which we estimate directly from individual labor income, also affects risk-taking positively, while internal habit and expenditure commitments tend to reduce it. Our microfindings lend strong support to decreasing relative risk aversion and habit formation preferences. Furthermore, heterogeneous risk sensitivities across investors help reconcile individual preferences with representative-agent models.

Fight or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors, with L. Calvet and J. Campbell, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 124 No. 1 pp. 301-348, February 2009

Abstract: This paper investigates the dynamics of individual portfolios in a unique data set containing the disaggregated wealth of all households in Sweden. Between 1999 and 2002, we observe little aggregate rebalancing in the financial portfolio of participants. These patterns conceal strong household-level evidence of active rebalancing, which on average offsets about one-half of idiosyncratic passive variations in the risky asset share. Wealthy, educated investors with better diversified portfolios tend to rebalance more actively. We find some evidence that households rebalance toward a greater risky share as they become richer. We also study the decisions to trade individual assets. Households are more likely to fully sell directly held stocks if those stocks have performed well, and more likely to exit direct stockholding if their stock portfolios have performed well; but these relationships are much weaker for mutual funds, a pattern that is consistent with previous research on the disposition effect among direct stockholders and performance sensitivity among mutual fund investors. When households continue to hold individual assets, however, they rebalance both stocks and mutual funds to offset about one-sixth of the passive variations in individual asset shares. Households rebalance primarily by adjusting purchases of risky assets if their risky portfolios have performed poorly, and by adjusting both fund purchases and full sales of stocks if their risky portfolios have performed well. Finally, the tendency for households to fully sell winning stocks is weaker for wealthy investors with diversified portfolios of individual stocks.

Down or Out: Assessing The Welfare Costs of Household Investment Mistakes, with L. Calvet and J. Campbell, Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 115 No. 5 pp. 707-747, October 2007

Abstract: This paper investigates the efficiency of household investment decisions using comprehensive disaggregated Swedish data. We consider two main sources of inefficiency: underdiversification (“down”) and nonparticipation in risky asset markets (“out”). While a few households are very poorly diversified, most Swedish households outperform the Sharpe ratio of their domestic stock index through international diversification. Financially sophisticated households invest more efficiently but also more aggressively, and overall they incur higher return losses from underdiversification. The return cost of nonparticipation is smaller by almost oneā€half when we take account of the fact that nonparticipants would likely be inefficient investors.

Working papers

Soft Negotiators or Modest Builders? Why Women Earn Lower Real Estate Returns

Laurent Bach, Anastasia Girshina, Paolo Sodini, and MiDa Team

Abstract: Using repeat-sales data on apartments in Sweden, we estimate the gender gap in housing returns. We confirm that single women’s returns gross of renovations are lower than single men’s by more than 2pp, that half of this gap is due to market timing, and that it is concentrated in short holding period. Adding administrative data on renovation expenses and traders’ background, we find that women are much less likely to  undertake renovations and to specialize in real estate professional activities. Once these differences are accounted for, we do not find any gender gap in real estate returns.

Working Paper