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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Thinking about Prices versus Thinking about Returns in Financial Markets

Published: 08/08/2019   |   DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12835

MARKUS GLASER, ZWETELINA ILIEWA, MARTIN WEBER

Prices and returns are alternative ways to present information and to elicit expectations in financial markets. But do investors think of prices and returns in the same way? We present three studies in which subjects differ in the level of expertise, amount of information, and type of incentive scheme. The results are consistent across all studies: asking subjects to forecast returns as opposed to prices results in higher expectations, whereas showing them return charts rather than price charts results in lower expectations. Experience is not a useful remedy but cognitive reflection mitigates the impact of format changes.