The Journal of Finance

The Journal of Finance publishes leading research across all the major fields of finance. It is one of the most widely cited journals in academic finance, and in all of economics. Each of the six issues per year reaches over 8,000 academics, finance professionals, libraries, and government and financial institutions around the world. The journal is the official publication of The American Finance Association, the premier academic organization devoted to the study and promotion of knowledge about financial economics.

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Search results: 3.

Looking for Someone to Blame: Delegation, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Disposition Effect

Published: 08/06/2015   |   DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12311


We analyze brokerage data and an experiment to test a cognitive dissonance based theory of trading: investors avoid realizing losses because they dislike admitting that past purchases were mistakes, but delegation reverses this effect by allowing the investor to blame the manager instead. Using individual trading data, we show that the disposition effect—the propensity to realize past gains more than past losses—applies only to nondelegated assets like individual stocks; delegated assets, like mutual funds, exhibit a robust reverse‐disposition effect. In an experiment, we show that increasing investors' cognitive dissonance results in both a larger disposition effect in stocks and a larger reverse‐disposition effect in funds. Additionally, increasing the salience of delegation increases the reverse‐disposition effect in funds. Cognitive dissonance provides a unified explanation for apparently contradictory investor behavior across asset classes and has implications for personal investment decisions, mutual fund management, and intermediation.

The Dividend Disconnect

Published: 05/13/2019   |   DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12785


Many individual investors, mutual funds, and institutions trade as if dividends and capital gains are disconnected attributes, not fully appreciating that dividends result in price decreases. Behavioral trading patterns (e.g., the disposition effect) are driven by price changes instead of total returns. Investors rarely reinvest dividends, and trade as if dividends are a separate, stable income stream. Analysts fail to account for the effect of dividends on price, leading to optimistic price forecasts for dividend‐paying stocks. Demand for dividends is systematically higher in periods of low interest rates and poor market performance, leading to lower returns for dividend‐paying stocks.

Selective Publicity and Stock Prices

Published: 03/27/2012   |   DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2012.01726.x


I examine how media coverage of good and bad corporate news affects stock prices, by studying the effect of investor relations (IR) firms. I find that IR firms “spin” their clients' news, generating more media coverage of positive press releases than negative press releases. This spin increases announcement returns. Around earnings announcements, however, IR firms cannot spin the news and their clients' returns are significantly lower. This pattern is consistent with positive media coverage increasing investor expectations, creating disappointment around hard information. Using reporter connections and geographical links, I argue that IR firms causally affect both media coverage and returns.