Working Papers

The Portfolio-Driven Disposition Effect (with Li An, Joseph Engelberg, Baolian Wang, and Jared Williams)

  • Revise and Resubmit at the Journal of Finance

Abstract: In simple univariate tests, the disposition effect for a stock nearly disappears if the portfolio is at a gain. We find a large disposition effect when the portfolio is at a loss. The portfolio-driven disposition effect that we document is not explained by extreme returns, portfolio rebalancing, simultaneous transactions, or investor sophistication/skill. We consider hedonic mental accounting and preferences over both paper and realized gains/losses as potential explanations for our findings.

Disastrous Selling Decisions: The Disposition Effect and Natural Disasters (solo-authored)

Abstract: Combining county-level natural disaster data with individual investor transactions, I document an increased disposition effect for investors impacted by a natural disaster. This effect is increasing in disaster severity and decreasing in the length of time following the event, suggesting that extreme natural disasters can significantly influence investor behavior, especially in the short term. These findings are not explained by liquidity needs, tax incentives, or informed trading. The effect strengthens with local stocks and investors’ duration at their residence. Moreover, the increased disposition effect of disaster-affected investors is consistent with investors deriving utility from environmental damages and realized gains/losses.

The Partisanship of Financial Regulators (with Joseph Engelberg, Asaf Manela, and Jared Williams)

Abstract: We analyze the partisanship of Securities and Exchange Commissioners (SEC) and members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (Fed). Using the language-based approach of Gentzkow, Shapiro, and Taddy (Econometrica, 2019), we identify partisan phrases in Congress, such as “red tape” and “climate change,” and observe their usage among regulators. Although the Fed has remained relatively non-partisan throughout our sample period (1930-2016), we find that partisanship among SEC Commissioners rose to an all-time high in the most recent period. Finally, we document a negative relation between partisanship and future enforcement actions and rulemaking activity, consistent with partisanship leading to gridlock.

The social welfare of marketplace lending: Evidence from natural disasters (with Daniel Bradley and Sarath Valsalan)

Abstract: Using natural disasters as exogenous shocks to the peer-to-peer (P2P) loan market, we document a local increase in loan demand post-disaster. Interest rates and delinquencies from loans approved during this demand shock are similar to pre-event levels. Loans allocated prior to a disaster are more likely to suffer delinquency over the life of the loan, but loans granted a hardship accommodation delay of payment reduce the likelihood of future delinquency providing relief to borrowers and reduced delinquency costs to investors. Contrary to regulatory concerns that P2P lending is predatory, our results suggest they provide positive social welfare benefits.