Research on the influence of behavioral forces that motivate trader behavior and sentiment: A prospect theory exegesis

Deanne Butchey, Florida International University


This study focuses on empirical investigations and seeks implications by utilizing three different methodologies to test various aspects of trader behavior. The first methodology utilizes Prospect Theory to determine trader behavior during periods of extreme wealth contracting periods. Secondly, a threshold model to examine the sentiment variable is formulated and thirdly a study is made of the contagion effect and trader behavior. ^ The connection between consumers' sense of financial well-being or sentiment and stock market performance has been studied at length. However, without data on actual versus experimental performance, implications based on this relationship are meaningless. The empirical agenda included examining a proprietary file of daily trader activities over a five-year period. Overall, during periods of extreme wealth altering conditions, traders "satisfice" rather than choose the "best" alternative. A trader's degree of loss aversion depends on his/her prior investment performance. A model that explains the behavior of traders during periods of turmoil is developed. Prospect Theory and the data file influenced the design of the model. ^ Additional research included testing a model that permitted the data to signal the crisis through a threshold model. The third empirical study sought to investigate the existence of contagion caused by declining global wealth effects using evidence from the mining industry in Canada. Contagion, where a financial crisis begins locally and subsequently spreads elsewhere, has been studied in terms of correlations among similar regions. The results provide support for Prospect Theory in two out of the three empirical studies. ^ The dissertation emphasizes the need for specifying precise, testable models of investors' expectations by providing tools to identify paradoxical behavior patterns. True enhancements in this field must include empirical research utilizing reliable data sources to mitigate data mining problems and allow researchers to distinguish between expectations-based and risk-based explanations of behavior. Through this type of research, it may be possible to systematically exploit "irrational" market behavior. ^

Subject Area

Economics, Finance

Recommended Citation

Butchey, Deanne, "Research on the influence of behavioral forces that motivate trader behavior and sentiment: A prospect theory exegesis" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3206018.