loss aversion

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pages: 654 words: 191,864

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, cognitive bias, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demand response, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, index card, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nudge unit, pattern recognition, pre–internet, price anchoring, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, union organizing, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

The outside view and the risk policy are remedies against two distinct biases that affect many decisions: the exaggerated optimism of the planning fallacy and the exaggerated caution induced by loss aversion. The two biases oppose each other. Exaggerated optimism protects individuals and organizations from the paralyzing effects of loss aversion; loss aversion protects them from the follies of overconfident optimism. The upshot is rather comfortable for the d ecision maker. Optimists believe that the decisions they make are more prudent than they really are, and loss-averse decision makers correctly reject marginal propositions that they might otherwise accept. There is no guarantee, of course, that the biases cancel out in every situation. An organization that could eliminate both excessive optimism and excessive loss aversion should do so. The combination of the outside view with a risk policy should be the goal.

We concluded from many such observations that “losses loom larger than gains” and that people are loss averse. You can measure the extent of your aversion to losses by asking yourself a question: What is the smallest gain that I need to balance an equal chance to lose $100? For many people the answer is about $200, twice as much as the loss. The “loss aversion ratio” has been estimated in several experiments and is usually in the range of 1.5 to 2.5. This is an average, of course; some people are much more loss averse than others. Professional risk takers in the financial markets are more tolerant of losses, probably because they do not respond emotionally to every fluctuation. When participants in an experiment were instructed to “think like a trader,” they became less loss averse and their emotional reaction to losses (measured by a physiological index of emotional arousal) was sharply reduced.

The three principles: Writing this sentence reminded me that the graph of the value function has already been used as an emblem. Every Nobel laureate receives an individual certificate with a personalized drawing, which is presumably chosen by the committee. My illustration was a stylized rendition of figure 10. “loss aversion ratio”: The loss aversion ratio is often found to be in the range of 1. 5 and 2.5: Nathan Novemsky and Daniel Kahneman, “The Boundaries of Loss Aversion,” Journal of Marketing Research 42 (2005): 119–28. emotional reaction to losses: Peter Sokol-Hessner et al., “Thinking Like a Trader Selectively Reduces Individuals’ Loss Aversion,” PNAS 106 (2009): 5035–40. Rabin’s theorem: For several consecutive years, I gave a guest lecture in the introductory finance class of my colleague Burton Malkiel. I discussed the implausibility of Bernoulli’s theory each year.

 

pages: 500 words: 145,005

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, presumed consent, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel

The endowment effect experiments show that people have a tendency to stick with what they have, at least in part because of loss aversion. Once I have that mug, I think of it as mine. Giving it up would be a loss. And the endowment effect can kick in very fast. In our experiments, the subjects had “owned” that mug for a few minutes before the trading started. Danny liked to call this the “instant endowment effect.” And while loss aversion is certainly part of the explanation for our findings, there is a related phenomenon: inertia. In physics, an object in a state of rest stays that way, unless something happens. People act the same way: they stick with what they have unless there is some good reason to switch, or perhaps despite there being a good reason to switch. Economists William Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser have dubbed this behavior “status quo bias.” Loss aversion and status quo bias will often work together as forces that inhibit change.

It is just a collection of papers, most of them already published. I just have to get a few stragglers to finish their new papers and complete the introduction.” The book came out, shortly after the last paper arrived and the introduction was finished, in 2000, almost four years later. The “timid choices” part of the Kahneman and Lovallo story is based on loss aversion. Each manager is loss averse regarding any outcomes that will be attributed to him. In an organizational setting, the natural feeling of loss aversion can be exacerbated by the system of rewards and punishment. In many companies, creating a large gain will lead to modest rewards, while creating an equal-sized loss will get you fired. Under those terms, even a manager who starts out risk neutral, willing to take any bet that will make money on average, will become highly risk averse.

They are especially keen to eliminate a loss altogether because of the third feature captured in figure 3: loss aversion. Examine the value function in this figure at the origin, where both curves begin. Notice that the loss function is steeper than the gain function: it decreases more quickly than the gain function goes up. Roughly speaking, losses hurt about twice as much as gains make you feel good. This feature of the value function left me flabbergasted. There, in that picture, was the endowment effect. If I take away Professor Rosett’s bottle of wine, he will feel it as a loss equivalent to twice the gain he would feel if he acquired a bottle; that is why he would never buy a bottle worth the same market price as one in his cellar. The fact that a loss hurts more than an equivalent gain gives pleasure is called loss aversion. It has become the single most powerful tool in the behavioral economist’s arsenal.

 

pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone

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availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, payday loans, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

Prospect Theory 97 “I would go batty”: Barbara Tversky interview, July 8, 2008. 97 “interesting choices”: Kahneman Nobel autobiography, nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2002/kahneman=autobio.html. 97 Tversky’s idea to put a negative sign on amounts: Kahneman Nobel autobiography. 98 “We reasoned that”: Ibid. 98 “Our perceptual apparatus”: Kahneman and Tversky 1979, 277. 99 “extends to the domain of moral intuitions”: Kahneman Nobel autobiography. 101 Loss aversion in real estate: Ibid. 101 Loss aversion their greatest contribution: Ibid. 102 “The major points of prospect theory”: Lambert 2006. 102 the most cited article ever to appear in Econometrica: Laibson and Zeckhauser 1998, 8, which finds 1,703 citations. 102 Merckle suicide: Moulson 2009. 102 “Humans did not evolve to be happy”: Camerer, Loewenstein, and Prelec 2005, 27. 103 “Many of the losses people fear most”: Camerer n.d. (“Three cheers—psychological, theoretical, empirical—for loss-aversion”), 9–10. 17. Rules of Fairness 104 “spend a lot of money honestly”: Kahneman, Nobel autobiography, nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2002/kahneman=autobio.html. 104 Russell Sage biography: Sarnoff 1965.

You are apt to feel you’ve “lost” $975 rather than gained $25. In Kahneman and Tversky’s terminology, the anticipated $1,000 is a reference point. This is much like the “adaptation level” of psychophysics. The reference point determines whether something is entered as a gain or a loss on the mental ledger. That can make a huge difference in behavior. A second key idea of prospect theory is loss aversion. Losing money (anything of value) hurts more than gaining that same thing delights. You can demonstrate loss aversion by offering a bet on a coin toss. Tails you lose $100, and heads you win X. How big does X have to be for you to take the bet? Surveys show that few want to accept a “fair” bet with X = $100. Few accept X = $110, which offers a nice expected profit. (Those who do accept at this price tend to be gamblers, arbitrageurs, or economists.)

In the summer, the same animal has plenty of food, and its strategy should change. It should not bet its life on finding berries it doesn’t need. Replace “food” with “money” or any other gain, and you have prospect theory. We act as if losing $500 at poker is a life-or-death issue. Camerer suggests that loss aversion is a form of unreasoning fear, like that an acrophobic experiences looking out the window of a penthouse. “Many of the losses people fear most are not life-threatening, but there is no telling that to an emotional system overadapted to conveying fear signals,” Camerer wrote. “Thinking of loss-aversion as fear also implies the possibility that inducing emotions can push around buying and selling prices.” Seventeen Rules of Fairness Kahneman and Tversky spent the 1977–78 academic year at Stanford, polishing their prospect theory paper.

 

pages: 324 words: 93,175

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely

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Burning Man, business process, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, second-price auction, software as a service, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, young professional

We chose to do this by adding the force of loss aversion to the mix.* Loss aversion is the simple idea that the misery produced by losing something that we feel is ours—say, money—outweighs the happiness of gaining the same amount of money. For example, think about how happy you would be if one day you discovered that due to a very lucky investment, your portfolio had increased by 5 percent. Contrast that fortunate feeling to the misery that you would feel if, on another day, you discovered that due to a very unlucky investment, your portfolio had decreased by 5 percent. If your unhappiness with the loss would be higher than the happiness with the gain, you are susceptible to loss aversion. (Don’t worry; most of us are.) To introduce loss aversion into our experiment, we prepaid participants in the small-bonus condition 24 rupees (6 times 4).

After all, who could blame the poor guy? This incident made us realize that including loss aversion might not work in this experiment, so we switched to paying people at the end. There was another reason why we wanted to prepay participants: we wanted to try to capture the psychological reality of bonuses in the marketplace. We thought that paying up front was analogous to the way many professionals think about their expected bonuses every year. They come to think of the bonuses as largely given and as a standard part of their compensation. They often even make plans for spending it. Perhaps they eye a new house with a mortgage that would otherwise be out of reach or plan a trip around the world. Once they start making such plans, I suspect that they might be in the same loss aversion mind-set as the prepaid participants. Thinking versus Doing We were certain that there would be some limits to the negative effect of high reward on performance—after all, it seemed unlikely that a significant bonus would reduce performance in all situations.

Given the arm’s limited functionality, the pain I experienced and am still experiencing, and what I now know about flawed decision making, I suspect that keeping my arm was, in a cost/benefit sense, a mistake. Let’s look at the biases that affected me. First, it was difficult for me to accept the doctors’ recommendation because of two related psychological forces we call the endowment effect and loss aversion. Under the influence of these biases, we commonly overvalue what we have and we consider giving it up to be a loss. Losses are psychologically painful, and, accordingly, we need a lot of extra motivation to be willing to give something up. The endowment effect made me overvalue my arm, because it was mine and I was attached to it, while loss aversion made it difficult for me to give it up, even when doing so might have made sense. A second irrational influence is known as the status quo bias. Generally speaking, we tend to want to keep things as they are; change is difficult and painful, and we’d rather not change anything if we can help it.

 

pages: 397 words: 109,631

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, endowment effect, experimental subject, feminist movement, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, William of Occam, Zipcar

This chapter deals with several other anomalies, and it shows how we can avoid them, protecting ourselves against our tendencies to make uneconomical decisions. We don’t always behave in the fully rational way demanded by cost-benefit theory, but we can arrange the world so that we don’t have to in order to get the same benefits we would if we were professional economists. Loss Aversion We have a general tendency to avoid giving up what we already have, even in situations where the cost-benefit considerations say that we should relinquish what we have for the clear prospect of getting something better. The tendency is called loss aversion. Across a wide range of situations, it appears that gaining something only makes you about half as happy as losing the same thing makes you unhappy.1 We pay dearly for our aversion to loss. Many people would be reluctant to sell a stock that’s been going down rather than a stock that’s been going up.

But few people have an attachment to a bottle of Château de Something-or-Other that they would describe as sentimental. Changing the Status Quo Loss aversion produces inertia. Changing our behavior usually involves a cost of some kind. “Shall I change the channel? I have to get up to find the remote. I have to decide what would be a more interesting program to watch. Or maybe I would enjoy reading a book more. What book? Oh, well, I haven’t watched Jeopardy! in quite a while. Might be fun.” TV networks are well aware of this sort of sluggishness in our behavior and schedule their most popular programs early in prime time, with the expectation that many watchers will stay tuned to their channel after the popular program is over. The biggest problem with loss aversion is that it prompts a status quo bias.6 I continue to receive several newsletters that I long ago stopped reading because the time is never right to figure out how to stop the darn things from coming.

Half the students in the class are given a coffee mug with the university logo prominently displayed on it. Unlucky students who did not get a mug are asked to examine one and say how much they would pay for a mug just like it. Mug owners are asked how much they would sell their mugs for. There is a heavy discrepancy between the two amounts. On average, owners are willing to sell only when the price is double what the average nonowner is willing to pay.2 Loss aversion lies behind this endowment effect. People don’t want to give up things they own, even for more than they originally considered a fair price. Imagine you bought a ticket to a football game for two hundred dollars but would have been willing to pay five hundred dollars. Then a couple of weeks later you discover on the Internet that there are lots of desperate people willing to pay up to two thousand dollars for a ticket.

 

pages: 168 words: 46,194

Why Nudge?: The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism by Cass R. Sunstein

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, energy security, framing effect, invisible hand, late fees, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, nudge unit, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler

You are far more likely to have that operation if you are told that of a hundred people who have the operation, ninety are alive after five years than if you are told that after five years, ten are dead. The purely semantic reframing has a major effect on people’s judgments. Similarly, people are “loss averse,” in the sense that they dislike losses more than they like corresponding gains. If people face a five-cent tax for using a plastic bag (a loss), they are much more likely to be affected than if they are given a five-cent bonus (a gain) for bringing their own bag.8 In response to questions, people persistently show both framing effects and loss aversion. (There is a nice lesson here for policymakers. If you want to have an impact, choose effective frames and enlist loss aversion. Is it paternalistic for policymakers to heed that lesson? Before you answer “yes,” note that some kind of framing is inevitable.) Now assume that people are answering those same questions in a foreign language—that is, a language that they speak, but in which they are not entirely comfortable.

There are strong theoretical reasons why this might be so: —Consumers might be myopic and hence undervalue the long-term. —Consumers might lack information or a full appreciation of information even when it is presented. —Consumers might be especially averse to the short-term losses associated with the higher prices of energy-efficient products relative to the uncertain future fuel savings, even if the expected present value of those fuel savings exceeds the cost (the behavioral phenomenon of “loss aversion”). —Even if consumers have relevant knowledge, the benefits of energy-efficient vehicles might not be sufficiently salient to them at the time of purchase, and the lack of salience might lead consumers to neglect an attribute that it would be in their economic interest to consider. —U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Final Rule on Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards Contents INTRODUCTION Behaviorally Informed Paternalism ONE Occasions for Paternalism TWO The Paternalist’s Toolbox THREE Paternalism and Welfare FOUR Paternalism and Autonomy FIVE Soft Paternalism and Its Discontents EPILOGUE The Lives We Save May Be Our Own Notes Acknowledgments Index Why Nudge?

Now assume that people are answering those same questions in a foreign language—that is, a language that they speak, but in which they are not entirely comfortable. Here is the key finding: It turns out that they do not show either framing effects or loss aversion.9 Asked to resolve problems in a language that is not their own, people are less likely to depart from standard accounts of rationality. In an unfamiliar language, they are more likely to get the right answer. How can this be? The answer is straightforward. When people are using their own language, they think quickly and effortlessly, so System 1 has the upper hand. But when people are using another tongue, System 1 gets a bit overwhelmed and may even be rendered inoperative, while System 2 is given a serious boost. Our rapid, intuitive reactions are slowed down when we are using a language with which we are not entirely familiar.

 

pages: 624 words: 127,987

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume by Josh Kaufman

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, hindsight bias, index card, inventory management, iterative process, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, loss aversion, market bubble, Network effects, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, place-making, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, side project, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, subscription business, telemarketer, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, Yogi Berra

If that’s true, why don’t more people start businesses? Loss Aversion keeps them from acting: the threat of losing a steady (and somewhat predictable) job commands more Attention than the opportunity to create a new self-sustaining business. Starting a business involves the specter of potential loss, which prevents people from getting started in the first place. Loss Aversion is particularly pronounced in recessions and depressions. Losing a job, a home, or a significant percentage of your retirement fund isn’t life threatening, but it feels horrible all the same. As a result, people tend to become more conservative, avoiding risks that could make things worse. Unfortunately, some of those risks—like starting a new business—may actually present a major opportunity to make things better. The best way to overcome Loss Aversion is to Reinterpret the risk of loss as “no big deal.”

Save your Willpower: focus on using it to change your Environment, and you’ll have more available to use whenever Inhibition is necessary. SHARE THIS CONCEPT: http://book.personalmba.com/willpower-depletion/ Loss Aversion Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. —WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, MEASURE FOR MEASURE Recently, my wife, Kelsey, decided to withdraw some funds from an investment account. When the brokerage deposited the money into her bank account, they deposited an additional $10,000 by mistake. Rationally, it shouldn’t have been a big deal—it was a simple mistake that was easily corrected. Emotionally, however, Kelsey felt like she was “losing” the extra money, even though it wasn’t really hers at all. Loss Aversion is the idea that people hate to lose things more than they like to gain them. There are very few relationships that psychology is able to quantify, but this is one of them: people respond twice as strongly to potential loss as they do to the opportunity of an equivalent gain.

If you look at your investment portfolio and notice that it’s increased by 100 percent, you’ll feel pretty good. If you notice that your portfolio went down 100 percent, you’ll feel horrible. Loss Aversion explains why threats typically take precedence over opportunities when it comes to Motivation. The threat of loss used to require immediate attention, because losses were extremely costly—even life threatening. Dying or losing a loved one to a predator, sickness, exposure, or starvation is universally a horrible experience, so we’re built to do everything in our power to prevent that from happening. The potential losses we typically face now are rarely as serious, but our minds still give them automatic priority. Loss Aversion also explains why uncertainty appears risky. Depending on the study you look at, anywhere between 80 and 90 percent of adults think it would be great to own their own business and work for themselves.

 

pages: 304 words: 22,886

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

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Al Roth, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, availability heuristic, call centre, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, continuous integration, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, diversification, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, equity premium, feminist movement, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, index fund, invisible hand, late fees, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, Mason jar, medical malpractice, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, pension reform, presumed consent, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Saturday Night Live, school choice, school vouchers, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Zipcar

What this means is that people do not assign specific values to objects. When they have to give something up, they are hurt more than they are pleased if they acquire the very same thing. It is also possible to measure loss aversion with gambles. Suppose I ask 33 34 HUMANS AND ECONS you whether you want to make a bet. Heads you win $X, tails you lose $100. How much does X have to be for you to take the bet? For most people, the answer to this question is somewhere around $200. This implies that the prospect of winning $200 just offsets the prospect of losing $100. Loss aversion helps produce inertia, meaning a strong desire to stick with your current holdings. If you are reluctant to give up what you have because you do not want to incur losses, then you will turn down trades you might have otherwise made.

In another experiment, half the students in a class received coffee mugs (of course) and half got large chocolate bars. The mugs and the chocolate cost about the same, and in pretests students were as likely to choose one as the other. Yet when offered the opportunity to switch from a mug to a candy bar or vice versa, only one in ten switched. As we will see, loss aversion operates as a kind of cognitive nudge, pressing us not to make changes, even when changes are very much in our interests. Status Quo Bias Loss aversion is not the only reason for inertia. For lots of reasons, people have a more general tendency to stick with their current situation. This phenomenon, which William Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser (1988) have dubbed the “status quo bias,” has been demonstrated in numerous situations. Most teachers know that students tend to sit in the same seats in class, even without a seating chart.

Louis, 18n Germany, organ donations in, 178–79 Gilovich, Tom, 27–30, 61 Give More Tomorrow, 229–30 Goldstein, Dan, 178 Goolsbee, Austan, 230–31 Gore, Al, 159 Gould, Stephen Jay, 27 government: distrust of, 10, 248; libertarian paternalism of, 13; neutrality in, 246–48; paternalism of, 47; and RECAP, 93–94; and retirement plans, 115–17; and slippery slope, 236–38; starting points provided by, 10–11; transparency in, 240, 244–46 government bonds, 118 greenhouse gas emissions, 186, 188, 196 Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GGI), proposed, 191 Green Lights, EPA program, 195–96 Gross, David, 51 group norms, 57–58 gut feelings, 21–22 Hackman, Gene, 50 Halloween night experiment, 123–24 H&R Block, and FAFSA software, 141 Harvard School of Public Health, 67 Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 189 health care, 207–14; birth control pills, 89; choosing, 76; costs of, 207, 210; defensive medicine, 210; Destiny Health Plan, 233; deterrent effect of tort liability in, 210–11; drug compliance, 89; framing in, 157; freedom of contract in, 174, 210, 214; incentive conflicts in, 98; ineffective lawsuits in, 210, 211–12; libertarian paternalists on, 157–58; medical malpractice liability, 209–14; negligence defined in, 213; “no-fault” system in some countries, 213; organ donations, 157–58, 175–82; prescription drug plan, 157, 159–74; right to sue for negligence, 207–14; social influences in, 157; treatment options, 92 “heuristics and biases” approach, 23 Hoffman, Dustin, 50, 51 home-building industry, 192–93 home equity loans, 103 Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, 136 homo economicus (economic man), 6–8 “hot-cold empathy gap,” 42 hot-hand theory, 30, 31 hot states, 41, 42 Houston Natural Gas, 125 Howell, William, 201 Hoxby, Carolyn, 200 Humans: Automatic Systems used by, 22; conformity of, 55–60; difficult choices for, 77, 83; influenced by a nudge, 8; loss aversion of, 120–21; and money, 101; social pressures on, 53; use of term, 7 Hurricane Katrina, 13 287 288 INDEX Illinois First Person Consent registry, 181– 82, 181 imitation, 238n incentives, 8, 97–100; conflicts of, 98, 203–5; in free markets, 97; in investments, 131; and salience, 98–99 income tax: Automatic Tax Return, 230– 31; compliance in, 66; refunds from, 48–49n index funds, 149–50, 154 inertia: and default option, 35, 83; and loss aversion, 34; and organ donations, 176; power of, 7–8, 238n; and status quo bias, 12–13, 34–35; “yeah, whatever,” 35, 83 information, spread of, 54, 71 Informed Decisions, 172 inheritance, 217 INSEAD School of Business, France, 99 insurance: costs of, 93; fraught choices in, 77; health, 233 Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 230–31 intuitive thinking, test of, 21–22 investment goods, 73 investments, 118–31; asset allocation in, 34–35, 118–28; in company stock, 125– 28, 247; default options, 129–30; and ERISA, 127–28, 131; error expected in, 130; feedback in, 131; incentives in, 131; index funds, 149–50; “lifestyle” funds, 124–25, 129; mappings in, 131; and market timing, 121–22; mental accounting in, 51; mutual funds, 119, 120, 122, 127; past performance of, 126–27; portfolio management, 131; portfolio theory, 123; rates of return, 123; risk in, 118, 120–21, 124–25, 129; rules of thumb for, 122– 25; stocks and bonds, 118, 119–20; structuring complex choices, 130; “target maturity funds,” 129–30 iPhone and iPod, 11 IRAs, 103 Johnson, Eric, 178 Johnson, Samuel, 32 Jones, Rev.

 

Stocks for the Long Run, 4th Edition: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy J. Siegel

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asset allocation, backtesting, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, German hyperinflation, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, new economy, oil shock, passive investing, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

This tendency to base decisions on the short-term fluctuations in the market has been referred to as myopic loss aversion. Since over longer periods, the probability of stocks showing a loss is much smaller, investors influenced by loss aversion would be more likely to hold stocks if they monitored their performance less frequently. Dave: That’s so true. When I look at stocks in the very short run, they seem so risky that I wonder why anyone holds them. But over the long run, the superior performance of equities is so overwhelming, I wonder why anyone doesn’t hold stocks! IC: Exactly. Shlomo Bernartzi and Richard Thaler claim that myopic loss aversion is the key to solving the equity premium puzzle.27 For years, econ26 Shlomo Bernartzi and Richard Thaler, “Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1995, pp. 73–91. 27 See Chapter 8 for a further description of the equity premium puzzle.

262 Index Options 264 Buying Index Options 266 Selling Index Options 267 The Importance of Indexed Products 267 Chapter 16 Market Volatility 269 The Stock Market Crash of October 1987 271 The Causes of the October 1987 Crash 273 Exchange-Rate Policies 274 The Futures Market 275 Circuit Breakers 276 The Nature of Market Volatility 277 Historical Trends of Stock Volatility 278 The Volatility Index (VIX) 281 Recent Low Volatility 283 The Distribution of Large Daily Changes 283 The Economics of Market Volatility 285 The Significance of Market Volatility 286 Chapter 17 Technical Analysis and Investing with the Trend 289 The Nature of Technical Analysis 289 Charles Dow, Technical Analyst 290 The Randomness of Stock Prices 291 Simulations of Random Stock Prices 292 Trending Markets and Price Reversals 294 Moving Averages 295 Testing the Dow Jones Moving-Average Strategy 296 Back-Testing the 200-Day Moving Average 297 The Nasdaq Moving-Average Strategy 300 CONTENTS CONTENTS xiii Distribution of Gains and Losses 301 Momentum Investing 302 Conclusion 303 Chapter 18 Calendar Anomalies 305 Seasonal Anomalies 306 The January Effect 306 Causes of the January Effect 309 The January Effect Weakened in Recent Years 310 Large Monthly Returns 311 The September Effect 311 Other Seasonal Returns 315 Day-of-the-Week Effects 316 What’s an Investor to Do? 318 Chapter 19 Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing 319 The Technology Bubble, 1999 to 2001 320 Behavioral Finance 322 Fads, Social Dynamics, and Stock Bubbles 323 Excessive Trading, Overconfidence, and the Representative Bias 325 Prospect Theory, Loss Aversion, and Holding On to Losing Trades 328 Rules for Avoiding Behavioral Traps 331 Myopic Loss Aversion, Portfolio Monitoring, and the Equity Risk Premium 332 Contrarian Investing and Investor Sentiment: Strategies to Enhance Portfolio Returns 333 Out-of-Favor Stocks and the Dow 10 Strategy 335 PART 5 BUILDING WEALTH THROUGH STOCKS Chapter 20 Fund Performance, Indexing, and Beating the Market 341 The Performance of Equity Mutual Funds 342 Finding Skilled Money Managers 346 xiv Persistence of Superior Returns 348 Reasons for Underperformance of Managed Money 348 A Little Learning Is a Dangerous Thing 349 Profiting from Informed Trading 349 How Costs Affect Returns 350 The Increased Popularity of Passive Investing 351 The Pitfalls of Capitalization-Weighted Indexing 351 Fundamentally Weighted versus Capitalization-Weighted Indexation 353 The History of Fundamentally Weighted Indexation 356 Conclusion 357 Chapter 21 Structuring a Portfolio for Long-Term Growth 359 Practical Aspects of Investing 360 Guides to Successful Investing 360 Implementing the Plan and the Role of an Investment Advisor 363 Concluding Comment 364 Index 367 CONTENTS F O R E W O R D Some people find the process of assembling data to be a deadly bore.

We all display a natural tendency to minimize this discomfort, which makes it difficult for us to recognize our overconfidence. Prospect Theory, Loss Aversion, and Holding On to Losing Trades Dave: I see. Can we talk about individual stocks? Why do I end up holding so many losers in my portfolio? IC: Remember I said before that Kahneman and Tversky had kicked off behavioral finance with prospect theory? A key point in their theory was that individuals form a reference point from which they judge their performance. They found that from that reference point individuals are much more upset about losing a given amount of money than they are from gaining the same amount. They called this behavior loss aversion, and they suggested that the decision to hold or sell an investment will be dramatically influenced by whether your stock has gone up or down— in other words, whether you have had a gain or loss.

 

pages: 310 words: 82,592

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

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banking crisis, Black Swan, clean water, cognitive bias, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, framing effect, friendly fire, iterative process, loss aversion, market fundamentalism, price anchoring, telemarketer, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment

And people will take greater risks to avoid losses than to achieve gains. That’s called Loss Aversion. That’s why people who statistically have no need for insurance buy it. Or consider this: a person who’s told he has a 95 percent chance of receiving $10,000 or a 100 percent chance of getting $9,499 will usually avoid risk and take the 100 percent certain safe choice, while the same person who’s told he has a 95 percent chance of losing $10,000 or a 100 percent chance of losing $9,499 will make the opposite choice, risking the bigger 95 percent option to avoid the loss. The chance for loss incites more risk than the possibility of an equal gain. Over the next few pages I’ll explain a few prospect theory tactics you can use to your advantage. But first let me leave you with a crucial lesson about loss aversion: In a tough negotiation, it’s not enough to show the other party that you can deliver the thing they want.

Martin Parish, Louisiana, 162–63, 171 “proof of life” and, 34, 147, 148–49, 165, 170 Schilling case, 96, 98–105 terrorists and, 232 “that’s right” and, 101–5 “knowing their religion,” 225, 228–29, 244 offering reasons that reference counterpart’s religion, 231 power of hopes and dreams and, 230–31 similarity principle and, 229–30 Koresh, David, 13 labeling, 19, 50, 54–73, 112 accusation audit, 64–68, 73, 254–55 Assertive (bargaining style) and, 196 avoiding “I,” 56 cranky grandfather example, 59 deescalating angry confrontations with, 58–59 to discover source of incongruence, 176 empathy as a mood enhancer, 62 empathy building and, 239 to extract information, 239, 257–58 of fears, 61–62 fill-in-the-blank examples, 255, 258 Girl Scout fundraiser and, 62–63 intentionally mislabeling an emotion, 91, 94 key lessons of, 71–73 labeling and calming fear, 61, 63, 64, 67, 73 lawyers and “taking the sting out” technique, 65 Lieberman brain imaging study, 55 negativity and, 57–61, 64–68, 70 phrasing the label, 56 Rule of Three and, 177 rules about form and delivery, 55 Schilling kidnapping case and, 103 silences and, 56–57, 71, 72 step one: detecting the other person’s emotional state, 55–56 step two: labeling it aloud, 56 as transformative, 63 Washington Redskins ticket holder script, 60–61 “words, music, and dance” and, 55 Lanceley, Fred, 14–15 Langer, Ellen, 231 late-night FM DJ voice, 19, 31–33, 47 contract discussion and, 34 downward-inflecting statement, 32, 33 general demeanor and delivery, 32 Harlem fugitive stand-off negotiation and, 51 hostage negotiation and, 33–34, 38 lawyer-negotiators, 192–93 Leonsis, Ted, 231 “Lessons of Waco: Proposed Changes in Federal Law Enforcement” (Heymann), 14 leverage, 220–24 Black Swans as leverage multipliers, 220–21, 224, 244 in a kidnapping, 221 loss aversion and, 128 negative, 222–23, 226, 227, 244 normative, 224, 226, 244 personal negotiation styles and, 192 positive, 221–22, 226, 244 what it is, 220 liars. See falsehoods and liars Lieberman, Matthew, 55 listening. See active listening loss aversion, 12, 127–28, 139, 223, 257 Macapagal-Arroyo, Gloria, 140 Malhotra, Deepak, 178, 179, 233 Mehrabian, Albert, 176 Memphis Bar Association, 132 Middle Eastern merchants, 33 Miller, George A., 28 Miller, Winnie, 227 mindset finding and acting on Black Swans and, 218, 219 as key to successful negotiation, 43 multiple hypotheses approach, 25 positive, 33, 47 ready-to-walk, 204–5 win-win, 115 mirroring (isopraxism), 19, 35–36, 44, 48, 70, 71, 183 active listening and, 103 body language and, 36 to elicit information, 185 four step process for workplace negotiation, 44–46 reaction to use of “fair” in negotiations, 125 silences and, 37, 44, 72 use with Assertive bargainers, 196 use with assertive people, 191–92 verbal, 36 Wiseman waiter study, 36 Misino, Dominick, 41–42 Mnookin, Robert, 2–4, 5 Moore, Don A., 120 Moore, Margaret, 214–15, 217 Mousavian, Seyed Hossein, 124 MSU (making shit up) approach, 30 Mueller, Robert, 143 negotiation.

There’s the Framing Effect, which demonstrates that people respond differently to the same choice depending on how it is framed (people place greater value on moving from 90 percent to 100 percent—high probability to certainty—than from 45 percent to 55 percent, even though they’re both ten percentage points). Prospect Theory explains why we take unwarranted risks in the face of uncertain losses. And the most famous is Loss Aversion, which shows how people are statistically more likely to act to avert a loss than to achieve an equal gain. Kahneman later codified his research in the 2011 bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow.3 Man, he wrote, has two systems of thought: System 1, our animal mind, is fast, instinctive, and emotional; System 2 is slow, deliberative, and logical. And System 1 is far more influential. In fact, it guides and steers our rational thoughts.

 

pages: 1,088 words: 228,743

Expected Returns: An Investor's Guide to Harvesting Market Rewards by Antti Ilmanen

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, backtesting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, deglobalization, delta neutral, demand response, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, framing effect, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, Google Earth, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, incomplete markets, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market friction, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, merger arbitrage, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Journalism, oil shock, p-value, passive investing, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, savings glut, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic volatility, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, working-age population, Y2K, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

These stories are especially relevant now that two major bear markets during the past decade may cast a long shadow on investor behavior. The two main behavioral explanations both require combining loss aversion with one other behavioral feature—a short time horizon (myopia) or the house money effect:• The myopic loss aversion model relies on a variant of mental accounting related to the investment time horizon (evaluation period). A given expected return advantage will attract investors more, the longer their investment horizon is. If investors evaluate their portfolios very frequently, the odds of risky assets outperforming riskless ones are close to 50/50 and loss aversion kicks in. Over longer horizons, the odds steadily improve. A typical degree of loss aversion applied to annual changes in financial wealth can justify an equity premium of 6.5%, suggesting that an annual portfolio evaluation period is plausible for the overall market

More risk preferences The house money effect is an important example of mental accounting. Gamblers tend to become less loss averse and more willing to take risks when they are ahead (“playing with house money)”. Greater willingness to gamble after recent gains suggests that losses are easier to take when they can be mentally added to earlier gains. At first blush, this may sound inconsistent with PT. However, PT as described above pertains to one-off gambles. Risk preferences in a sequence of gambles depend on how prior gains and losses influence loss aversion over time. An experimental study by Thaler and Johnson finds evidence in favor of the house money effect—more aggressive risk taking following successful trading, and cautiousness following losses. Such dynamic loss aversion is broadly consistent with wealth-dependent risk aversion. There is one interesting exception to caution after losses: if investors have a chance to fully recover a prior loss, they will accept gambles that they would normally reject.

A typical degree of loss aversion applied to annual changes in financial wealth can justify an equity premium of 6.5%, suggesting that an annual portfolio evaluation period is plausible for the overall market. • Yale’s Nicholas Barberis and co-authors develop an equilibrium model in which investors derive utility both from consumption and from annual changes in wealth. They too assume a typical degree of loss aversion (just above 2) but find that a model with constant loss aversion cannot fully explain the equity premium puzzle. However, they can resolve the puzzle if they include in their model the “house money effect”—the idea that the degree of loss aversion varies dynamically with prior gains and losses. The model thus implies that investors’ risk attitudes become more conservative in down-markets. The next section shows that estimates of the equity premium have edged lower since the 1990s. During the Great Moderation years, it was popular to argue that lower macro-volatility and investor learning about equities’ long-run return advantage could justify a sustained fall in the required equity premium.

 

pages: 306 words: 85,836

When to Rob a Bank: ...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, feminist movement, food miles, George Akerlof, invisible hand, loss aversion, mental accounting, Netflix Prize, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, pre–internet, price anchoring, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, Richard Thaler, security theater, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, The Chicago School, the High Line, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs

Unfortunately, his appearance on the PBA’s senior tour is unlikely: wanting to go out on top, he has vowed never to bowl again. True to his word, Levitt hasn’t touched a bowling ball since. Loss Aversion in the NFL (SJD) Football coaches are known for being extraordinarily conservative when it comes to calling risky plays, since a single bad decision (or even a good decision that doesn’t work out) can get you fired. In the jargon of behavioral economics, coaches are “loss-averse”; this concept, pioneered by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, holds that we experience more pain with a loss of x than we experience pleasure with a gain of x. Who experiences loss aversion? Well, just about everyone: day traders, capuchin monkeys, and especially football coaches. Which is why the last play of yesterday’s Chiefs-Raiders game was so interesting.

If instead we tell them we will pay them one month later, they don’t do any better than with no incentives at all. This is bad news for those who argue that payoffs that come years or decades in the future are sufficient to motivate students. The very best results come when we give the students the money before the test, and then we take the money back if they don’t meet the standards. This result is consistent with what psychologists call “loss aversion.” With young kids, it is a lot cheaper to bribe them with trinkets like trophies and whoopee cushions, but cash is the only thing that works for the older students. It is remarkable how offended people get when you pay students for doing well—so many negative e-mails and comments. Roland Fryer endured the same onslaught as he has experimented with financial incentives in cities around the U.S.

.”: “Brandon Adams . . . a great writer”: See Adams, Broke: A Poker Novel (iUniverse, 2006). 198 “WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF MAKING THE CHAMPIONS TOUR . . .”: “My friend Anders Ericsson popularized the magic number of 10,000 hours of practice”: See Dubner and Levitt, “A Star is Made,” The New York Times Magazine, May 7, 2006; K. Anders Ericsson, Neil Charness, Paul J. Feltovich, and Robert R. Hoffman, The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, Cambridge University Press, 2006. 206 “LOSS AVERSION IN THE NFL”: “Just about everyone . . . capuchin monkeys”: See Dubner and Levitt, “Monkey Business,” The New York Times Magazine, June 5, 2005. 208 “BILL BELICHICK IS GREAT”: “Teams seem to punt way too much”: See David Romer, “Do Firms Maximize? Evidence from Professional Football,” Journal of Political Economy 118, no. 2 (2006). / 209 “I’ve seen the same thing in my research on penalty kicks in soccer”: Pierre-André Chiappori, Steven D.

 

pages: 280 words: 79,029

Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our WorldÑFor the Better by Andrew Palmer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, Innovator's Dilemma, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, Northern Rock, obamacare, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, transaction costs, Tunguska event, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Vanguard fund, web application

So the behavioralists have had to fight back with another clever technique known as “auto escalation,” an opt-in feature that automatically increases employees’ savings rates whenever they get a pay rise until they hit a maximum level of contributions.17 By synchronizing contribution increases and salary hikes, this “Save More Tomorrow” option also gets around another human foible known as “loss aversion,” which means that people weigh losses more heavily than gains. Loss aversion appears to have very deep neurological roots. In a 2005 study, a trio of academics from Yale introduced a colony of capuchin monkeys to the concept of money. The monkeys were first trained to understand that they could exchange a token for food. Having grasped its purpose, some familiar patterns of behavior emerged. The monkeys responded to price signals, buying more of one food than another when its relative price dropped.

People who are paid to think about the industry’s future wonder about the potential for an “old people’s bank” for the baby boomers, whose services would be explicitly based around budgeting, managed drawdowns of savings, and the like. In the meantime, the annuity is the obvious answer to the problem of not knowing when you are going to die, but it has its flaws. If you have a small pension pot, an annuity may deliver only a meager stream of income; fixed annuities offer no protection against the effect of inflation; and loss aversion means that people hate the idea of “losing out” to the annuity provider if they die early. Another option is to squeeze more juice out of the assets that older people do own. The biggest of those is likely to be their houses. In 2009 half of home owners aged sixty-two and older in the United States had at least 55 percent of their net worth tied up in home equity. The most obvious way for a retiree to monetize this investment is by selling the house and either renting or “downsizing” into a smaller house.

., 32 Keys, Benjamin, 48 Kharroubi, Enisse, 79 Kickstarter, 172 King, Stephen, 99 Klein, David, 182 Krugman, Paul, xv Lahoud, Sal, 166 Lang, Luke, 153, 161–162 Laplanche, Renaud, 179, 184, 188, 190, 193–194, 196–197 Latency, 53 Law of large numbers, 17 Layering, 57 Left-digit bias, 46 Lehman Brothers, x, 44, 65 Lending direct, 84 marketplace, 184 payday, 200 relationship-based, 11, 151, 206–208 secured, xiv, 76 unsecured, 206 See also Loans; Peer-to-peer lending Lending Club, 172, 179–180, 182–184, 187, 189, 194–195, 197 Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci), 19 Lerner, Josh, 59 Lethal pandemic, risk-modeling for demographic profile, 230 exceedance-probability curve, 231–232, 232 figure 3 historical data, 228–229 infectiousness and virulence, 229–230 location of outbreak, 230–231 Leverage, 51, 70–71, 80, 186, 188 Leverage ratio, 76–77 Lewis, Michael, 57 Liber Abaci or Book of Calculation (Fibonacci), 19 LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), 41 Liebman, Jeffrey, 98 Life expectancy government reaction to, 128–129 projections of, 124–127, 126 figure 2 ratio of young to older people, 127–128 Life-insurance policies, 142 Life-settlements industry, 142–143 Life table, 20 Limited liability, 212 Liquidity, 12–14, 39, 185–186 List, John, 109 The Little Book of Behavioral Investing (Montier), 156 Lo, Andrew, 113–115, 117–123 Loans low-documentation, 48–49 secured, 76 small business, 181, 216 student, 164, 166–167, 169–171, 182 syndicated, 41 Victory Loans, 28 See also Lending; Peer-to-Peer lending Logistic regression, 201 London, early fire insurance in, 16–17 London, Great Fire of, 16 London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), 41 Long-Term Capital Management, 123 Longevity, betting on, 143–144 Loss aversion, 136 Lotteries, 212, 213 Low-documentation loans, 48–49 Lumni, 165, 168, 175 Lustgarten, Anders, 111 Lynn, Jeff, 160–161 Mack, John, 180 Mahwah, New Jersey, 52, 53 Marginal borrowers assessment of, 216–217 behavioral finance and, 208–214 industrialization of credit, 206 microfinance and, 203 savings schemes, 209–214 small businesses, 215–219 unsecured lending to, 206 Wonga, 203, 205, 208 Marginal borrowers (continued) ZestFinance, 199, 202, 205–206 Maritime piracy, solutions to, 151–152 Maritime trade, role of in history of finance, 3, 7–8, 14, 17, 23 Market makers, 15–16, 55 MarketInvoice, 195, 207, 217–218 Marketplace lending, 184 Markowitz, Harry, 118 Massachusetts, use of inflation-protected bonds in, 26 Massachusetts, use of social-impact bonds in, 98 Matching engine, 52 Maturity transformation, 12–13, 187–188, 193 McKinsey & Company, ix, 42 Mercator Advisory Group, 203 Merrill, Charles, 28 Merrill, Douglas, 199, 201 Merrill Lynch, 28 Merton, Robert, 31, 113–114, 123–124, 129–132, 142, 145 Mian, Atif, 204 Michigan, University of, financial survey by, 134–135 Microfinance, 203 Micropayment model, 217 Microwave technology, 53 The Million Adventure, 213–214 Minsky, Hyman, 42 Minsky moment, 42 Mississippi scheme, 36 Mitchell, Justin, 166–167 Momentum Ignition, 57 Monaco, modeling risk of earthquake in, 227 Money, history of, 4–5 Money illusion, 73–74 Money laundering, 192 Money-market funds, 43, 44 Monkeys, Yale University study of loss aversion with, 136 Montier, James, 156–157 Moody, John, 24 Moody’s, 24, 235 Moore’s law, 114 Morgan Stanley, 188 Mortgage-backed securities, 49, 233 Mortgage credit by ZIP code, study of, 204 Mortgage debt, role of in 2007–2008 crisis, 69–70 Mortgage products, unsound, 36–37 Mortgage securitization, 47 Multisystemic therapy, 96 Munnell, Alicia, 129 Naked credit-default swaps, 143 Nature Biotechnology, on drug-development megafunds, 118 “Neglected Risks, Financial Innovation and Financial Fragility” (Gennaioli, Shleifer, and Vishny), 42 Network effects, 181 New York, skyscraper craze in, 74–75 New York City, prisoner-rehabilitation program in, 108 New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), 31, 52, 53, 61, 64 New York Times, Merrill Lynch ad in, 28 Noncorrelated assets, 122 Nonprofits, growth of in United States, 105–106 Northern Rock, x NYMEX, 60 NYSE Euronext, 52 NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), 31, 52, 53, 61, 64 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), 128, 147 Oldfield, Sean, 67–68, 80–84 OnDeck, 216–218 One Service, 94–95, 105, 112 Operating expense ratio, 188–189 Options, 15, 124 Order-to-trade ratios, 63 Oregon, interest in income-share agreements, 172, 176 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 128, 147 Overtrading, 24 Packard, Norman, 60 Pandit, Vikram, 184 Park, Sun Young, 233 Partnership mortgage, 81 Pasion, 11 Pave, 166–168, 173, 175, 182 Payday lending Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, survey on, 200 information on applicants, acquisition of, 202 underwriting of, 201 PayPal, 219 Peak child, 127 Peak risk, 228 Peer-to-peer lending advantages of, 187–189 auction system, 195 big investors in, 183 borrowers, assessment of, 197 in Britain, 181 commercial mortgages, 181 CommonBond, 182, 184, 197 consumer credit, 181 diversification, 196 explained, 180 Funding Circle, 181–182, 189, 197 investors in, 195 Lending Club, 179–180, 182–184, 187, 189, 194–195, 197 network effects, 181 ordinary savers and, 184 Prosper, 181, 187, 195 RateSetter, 181, 187, 196 Relendex, 181 risk management, 195–197 securitization, 183–184, 196 Peer-to-peer lending (continued) small business loans, 181 SoFi, 184 student loans, 182 Zopa, 181, 187, 188, 195 Pensions, cost of, 125–126 Perry, Rick, 142–143 Peterborough, England, social-impact bond pilot in, 90–92, 94–95, 104–105, 112 Petri, Tom, 172 Pharmaceuticals, decline of investment in, 114–115 Piracy Reporting Centre, International Maritime Bureau, 151 Polese, Kim, 210 Poor, Henry Varnum, 24 “Portfolio Selection” (Markowitz), 118 Prediction Company, 60–61 Preferred shares, 25 Prepaid cards, 203 Present value of cash flows, 19 Prime borrowers, 197 Prince, Chuck, 50–51, 62 Principal-agent problem, 8 Prisoner rehabilitation programs, 90–91, 94–95, 98, 108, 112 Private-equity firms, 69, 85, 91, 105, 107 Projection bias, 72–73 Property banking crises and, xiv, 69 banking mistakes involving, 75–80 behavioral biases and, 72–75 dangerous characteristics of, 70–72 fresh thinking, need for, xvii, 80 investors’ systematic errors in, 74–75 perception of as safe investment, 76, 80 Prosper, 181, 187, 195 Provisioning funds, 187 Put options, 9, 82 Quants, 19, 63, 113 QuickBooks, 218 Quote stuffing, 57 Raffray, André-François, 144 Railways, affect of on finance, 23–25 Randomized control trials (RCTs), 101 Raphoen, Christoffel, 15–16 Raphoen, Jan, 15–16 RateSetter, 181, 187, 196 RCTs (randomized control trials), 101 Ready for Zero, 210–211 Rectangularization, 125, 126 figure 2 Regulation NMS, 61 Reinhart, Carmen, 35 Reinsurance, 224 Relendex, 181 Rentes viagères, 20 Repurchase “repo” transactions, 15, 185 Research-backed obligations, 119 Reserve Primary Fund, 44 Retirement, funding for anchoring effect, 137–138 annuities, 139 auto-enrollment in pension schemes, 135 auto-escalation, 135–136 conventional funding, 127–128 decumulation, 138–139 government reaction to increased longevity, 128–129 home equity, 139–140 life expectancy, projections of, 124–127, 126 figure 2 life insurance policies, cash-surrender value of, 142 personal retirement savings, 128–129, 132–133 replacement rate, 125 reverse mortgage, 140–142 savings cues, experiment with, 137 SmartNest, 129–131 Reverse mortgages, 140–142 Risk-adjusted returns, 118 Risk appetite, 116 Risk assessment, 24, 45, 77–78, 208 Risk aversion, 116, 215 Risk-based capital, 77 Risk-based pricing model, 176 Risk management, 55, 117–118, 123, 195–197 Risk Management Solutions, 222 Risk sharing, 8, 82 Risk-transfer instrument, 226 Risk weights, 77–78 Rogoff, Kenneth, 35 “The Role of Government in Education” (Friedman), 165 Roman Empire business corporation in, 7 financial crisis in, 36 forerunners of banks in, 11 maritime insurance in, 8 Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs), 209–210 Roulette wheel, use of in experiment on anchoring, 138 Royal Bank of Scotland, 186 Rubio, Marco, 172 Russia, mortgage market in, 67 S-curve, in diffusion of innovations, 45 Salmon, Felix, 155 Samurai bonds, 27 Satsuma Rebellion (1877), 27 Sauter, George, 58 Save to Win, 214 Savings-and-loan crisis in US (1990s), 30 Savings cues, experiment with, 137 Scared Straight social program, 101 Scholes, Myron, 31, 123–124 Science, Technology, and Industry Scoreboard of OECD, 147 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 54, 56, 57, 58, 64 Securities markets, 14 Securitization, xi, 20, 37–38, 117–122, 183–184, 196, 236 Seedrs, 160–161 Sellaband, 159 Shared equity, 80–84 Shared-equity mortgage, 84 Shepard, Chris, xii–xiii Shiller, Robert, xv–xvi, 242 Shleifer, Andrei, 42, 44 Short termism, 58 SIBs.

 

pages: 335 words: 94,657

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Michael Leboeuf, Mel Lindauer

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asset allocation, buy low sell high, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, endowment effect, estate planning, financial independence, financial innovation, high net worth, index fund, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, mental accounting, passive investing, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, statistical model, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve

But when it comes to investing your hard-earned dollars, please keep this thought in mind: the stock market is a very expensive place to learn that neither you nor anyone else is endowed with the gift of investment prophecy. Loss Aversion Do you check your portfolio every day? Do you sell a stock or mutual fund when it earns a healthy return to lock in the profit? Do you sell stocks/mutual funds whenever you see them going down? Are you a young person who keeps most of your savings in bonds or safe, ultraconservative investments? If so, you may be hurting your potential returns through loss aversion. Loss aversion is the flip side of overconfidence. Although overconfidence tends to make us overly bold, loss aversion makes us overly timid about investing. Experiments have determined that at the emotional level, we feel the pain of a $100 loss twice as much as we enjoy the benefit of a $100 gain.

Perhaps you know people who lost a fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, the 1973 to 1974 bear market, or the tech wreck of 2000 who now keep all their money in bank certificates of deposit. They may think their investments are risk free. However, if you factor in the taxes due on the interest earned and inflation, many of them are actually losing purchasing power. What's perceived as safe isn't always as safe as those who are loss averse believe it to be. Paralysis by Analysis This investment trap is the first cousin to loss aversion. When it comes time to invest, we have literally thousands of funds to choose from and an abundance of noise telling us why we should invest in a certain way. The more choices people are given, the harder it becomes to choose one. As a result, some people don't make a choice and don't invest. The problem is that by failing to invest they incur an opportunity loss.

During those few minutes a day, we highly recommend not making any investment decisions. HOW TO ESCAPE THE EMOTIONAL TRAPS Finally, for the common emotional traps mentioned earlier, we offer the following tools for escape: • Recency bias. Never assume today's results predict tomorrow's. It's a changing world. • Overconfidence. No one can consistently predict short-term movements in the market. This means you and/or the person investing your money. • Loss aversion. Be a risk manager instead of a risk avoider. Believing you are avoiding risk can be a costly illusion. • Paralysis by analysis. Every day you don't invest is a day less you'll have the power of compounding working for you. Put together an intelligent investment plan and get started. If you need help, seek out a good financial planner to assist you. • The endowment effect. Just because you own it, or are a part of it, doesn't automatically mean it's worth more.

 

pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

We chose to do this by adding the force of loss aversion to the mix.* Loss aversion is the simple idea that the misery produced by losing something that we feel is ours—say, money—outweighs the happiness of gaining the same amount of money. For example, think about how happy you would be if one day you discovered that due to a very lucky investment, your portfolio had increased by 5 percent. Contrast that fortunate feeling to the misery that you would feel if, on another day, you discovered that due to a very unlucky investment, your portfolio had decreased by 5 percent. If your unhappiness with the loss would be higher than the happiness with the gain, you are susceptible to loss aversion. (Don’t worry; most of us are.) To introduce loss aversion into our experiment, we prepaid participants in the small-bonus condition 24 rupees (6 times 4).

After all, who could blame the poor guy? This incident made us realize that including loss aversion might not work in this experiment, so we switched to paying people at the end. There was another reason why we wanted to prepay participants: we wanted to try to capture the psychological reality of bonuses in the marketplace. We thought that paying up front was analogous to the way many professionals think about their expected bonuses every year. They come to think of the bonuses as largely given and as a standard part of their compensation. They often even make plans for spending it. Perhaps they eye a new house with a mortgage that would otherwise be out of reach or plan a trip around the world. Once they start making such plans, I suspect that they might be in the same loss aversion mind-set as the prepaid participants. Thinking versus Doing We were certain that there would be some limits to the negative effect of high reward on performance—after all, it seemed unlikely that a significant bonus would reduce performance in all situations.

Given the arm’s limited functionality, the pain I experienced and am still experiencing, and what I now know about flawed decision making, I suspect that keeping my arm was, in a cost/benefit sense, a mistake. Let’s look at the biases that affected me. First, it was difficult for me to accept the doctors’ recommendation because of two related psychological forces we call the endowment effect and loss aversion. Under the influence of these biases, we commonly overvalue what we have and we consider giving it up to be a loss. Losses are psychologically painful, and, accordingly, we need a lot of extra motivation to be willing to give something up. The endowment effect made me overvalue my arm, because it was mine and I was attached to it, while loss aversion made it difficult for me to give it up, even when doing so might have made sense. A second irrational influence is known as the status quo bias. Generally speaking, we tend to want to keep things as they are; change is difficult and painful, and we’d rather not change anything if we can help it.

 

pages: 93 words: 24,584

Walk Away by Douglas E. French

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Elliott wave, forensic accounting, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, loss aversion, McMansion, mental accounting, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Journalism, Own Your Own Home, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, the market place, transaction costs, unbiased observer

Most all attempt to negotiate a modification with their lender and are turned away at the door because they are current on their payments or if they are invited to pursue a modification, the “process turns out, however, to be immensely frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful for many homeowners.” Research has shown that investment decisions are driven by biases locked in the human brain and humans are especially loss-averse and tend to rationalize bad investment decisions. David Genesove and Christopher Mayer write in a chapter entitled “Loss-Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market” from Advances In Behavioral Economics, “housing professionals are not surprised that many sellers are reluctant to realize a loss on their house.” These authors found that during the boom and bust in the Boston downtown real estate market of 1990–97, sellers subject to losses set higher asking prices of 25–35% of the difference between the expected selling price of a property and their original purchase price.

“One especially successful broker even noted that she tried to avoid taking on clients who were facing ‘too large’ a potential loss on their property because such clients often had unrealistic target selling prices,” write Genesove and Mayer. And the cold, hard realities of the market are slow to change sellers’ minds according to Genesove and Mayer. According to their data, lower prices and increased time on the market do not significantly influence loss-aversion. Dražen Prelec and George Lowenstein believe that people do an accounting in their heads that affects their behavior. The linkages tying together specific acts of consumption with specific payments “generates pleasure or pain depending on whether the accounts are in the red or in the black.” In an article entitled “The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt” which appeared as a chapter in Exotic Preferences: Behavioral Economics and Human Motivation, the authors’ modeling predicts that most people are debt averse and show “that people generally like sequences of events that improve over time and dislike sequences that deteriorate.”

 

Investment: A History by Norton Reamer, Jesse Downing

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, colonial rule, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the telegraph, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, margin call, means of production, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Own Your Own Home, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, statistical arbitrage, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Vanguard fund, working poor, yield curve

One of the most cited and well-regarded explanations, put forth by Shlomo Benartzi and Richard Thaler in 1995, is “myopic loss aversion,” a notion that borrows heavily from the concepts developed in prospect theory, including the fact that individuals tend to exhibit loss aversion and that they care about changes in wealth more keenly than about absolute levels of wealth. Investors who frequently look at the value of their equity portfolio—say, on a daily or weekly basis when the market behaves randomly over these short time frames, moving up and down—will thus experience more disutility on average, given that they derive greater pain from losses than pleasure from the same magnitude of gains. Over long evaluation periods, The Emergence of Investment Theory 253 however, where market movements have a general upward trend, this feeling of loss aversion is reduced because equities tend to appreciate over time, so it is more palatable to hold on to equities.

Over long evaluation periods, The Emergence of Investment Theory 253 however, where market movements have a general upward trend, this feeling of loss aversion is reduced because equities tend to appreciate over time, so it is more palatable to hold on to equities. The size of the equity premium, then, is really due to loss aversion experienced by investors whose frequency of evaluations is too great; if investors looked at their equities portfolios over longer time frames, they would demand lower premiums and this puzzle would be resolved.49 Other explanations that have been offered by behavioral economists focus on earnings uncertainty and how that influences investors’ willingness to bear risk, and yet others develop a dynamic loss aversion model where investors react differently to stocks that fall after a run-up compared to those that fall directly after purchase. Another place where this behavioral lens has been applied to financial markets beyond the equity premium puzzle is momentum.

Their pioneering paper noted many 252 Investment: A History of the known behaviors that represent aberrations from expected utility theory, including lottery problems (in which individuals tend to elect a lump-sum payment up front even if that is smaller than the expected value of receiving a larger amount or zero when a coin flip is involved) and probabilistic insurance (in which individuals have a more disproportionate dislike for a form of insurance that would cover losses based on a coin flip more than the math suggests they should). Prospect theory contends that individuals’ choices are more centered on changes in utility or wealth rather than end values; it also suggests that most people exhibit loss aversion in which losses cause more harm to one’s welfare than the benefit from happiness one receives from gaining the same amount of reward.46 This theory may seem intellectually interesting, but how does it relate precisely to finance and investing? Since Kahneman and Tversky’s seminal paper, subsequent work has made many connections to markets, one of which is the “equity premium puzzle.” The equity premium puzzle was described first in a 1985 paper by Rajnish Mehra and Edward Prescott.47 The central “puzzle” is that while investors should be compensated more for holding riskier equities than holding the risk-free instrument (Treasury bills), the amount by which they are compensated seems extremely excessive historically.

 

pages: 412 words: 115,266

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris

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Albert Einstein, banking crisis, cognitive bias, endowment effect, energy security, experimental subject, framing effect, hindsight bias, impulse control, John Nash: game theory, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, ultimatum game, World Values Survey

It is also an important impediment to conflict resolution through negotiation: for if each party values his opponent’s concessions as gains and his own as losses, each is bound to perceive his sacrifice as being greater.34 Loss aversion has been studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). If this bias were the result of negative feelings associated with potential loss, we would expect brain regions known to govern negative emotion to be involved. However, researchers have not found increased activity in any areas of the brain as losses increase. Instead, those regions that represent gains show decreasing activity as the size of the potential losses increases. In fact, these brain structures themselves exhibit a pattern of “neural loss aversion”: their activity decreases at a steeper rate in the face of potential losses than they increase for potential gains.35 There are clearly cases in which such biases seem to produce moral illusions—where a person’s view of right and wrong will depend on whether an outcome is described in terms of gains or losses.

The lone ranger of quantum mechanics. New York Times. Thompson, J. J. (1976). Letting die, and the trolley problem. The Monist, 59 (2), 204–217. Tiihonen, J., Rossi, R., Laakso, M. P., Hodgins, S., Testa, C., Perez, J., et al. (2008). Brain anatomy of persistent violent offenders: More rather than less. Psychiatry Res, 163 (3), 201–212. Tom, S. M., Fox, C. R., Trepel, C., & Poldrack, R. A. (2007). The neural basis of loss aversion in decision-making under risk. Science, 315 (5811), 515–518. Tomasello, M. (2007, January 13). For human eyes only. New York Times. Tomlin, D., Kayali, M. A., King-Casas, B., Anen, C., Camerer, C. F., Quartz, S. R., et al. (2006). Agent-specific responses in the cingulate cortex during economic exchanges. Science, 312 (5776), 1047–1050. Tononi, G., & Edelman, G. M. (1998). Consciousness and complexity.

., 228n61 beehive approach to morality, 89 belief: adoption of, for feeling better, 137–39 bias and, 122–26, 137, 226n36 brain science on, 11, 14, 116–22, 197n22 definitions of, 117 different categories of, 139–40 ethical beliefs, 14 extraneous information and/or context as influence on, 140–42 factual beliefs, 14 freedom of, 136–44 inseparability of reasoning and emotion, 126–31 internet’s influence on, 123 as intrinsically epistemic, 138 knowledge as, 115, 196–97n22 lie detection and, 133–36 meaning of, 115–18, 219–20n15 memory and, 116 mental properties of, 136–40 motivation for, 126 reasoning and, 122, 131–33 religious belief, 137–38, 148–54 science and, 144 wrong beliefs, 21 Benedict, Pope, 200n14 Benedict, Ruth, 20, 60–62 Bentham, Jeremy, 207n12 bias: adaptive fitness versus, 226–27n38 belief and, 122–26, 137, 226n36 decisional conflict, 231n75 definition of, 132 endowment effect and, 75 factors causing, 226n36 internet’s influence on, 123 knowledge and, 123–24 of liberals, 125–26 loss aversion, 75–77, 209n35 medical decisions and, 143, 231n75 of parents, 73 of political conservatives, 124–25 in reasoning, 132, 142–43 of science, 47 sins of commission versus sins of omission, 77 truth bias, 120, 223n26 unconscious and, 122–23 Bible, 3, 34, 38, 150, 166, 236–37n82 Biblical Creationism, 34, 37, 151, 202n19 Bin Laden, Osama, 5 Bingham, Roger, 5–6, 23 BioLogos Foundation, 169 birth control.

 

pages: 416 words: 118,592

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, capital asset pricing model, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, feminist movement, financial innovation, fixed income, framing effect, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, publish or perish, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond

Note that the expected value of the gain from such a gamble is $75, so this is a very favorable bet. Expected value ½($250) + ½ (–$100) $75. Kahneman and Tversky concluded that losses were 2½ times as undesirable as equivalent gains were desirable. In other words, a dollar loss is 2½ times as painful as a dollar gain is pleasurable. People exhibit extreme loss aversion, even though a change of $100 of wealth would hardly be noticed for most people with substantial assets. We’ll see later how loss aversion leads many investors to make costly mistakes. Interestingly, however, when individuals faced a situation where sure losses were involved, the psychologists found that they were overwhelmingly likely to take the gamble. Consider the following two alternatives: 1. A sure loss of $750. 2. A 75% chance to lose $1,000 and a 25% chance to lose nothing.

During periods of falling prices, however, sales volumes decline and individuals let their homes sit on the market for long periods of time with asking prices well above market prices. Extreme loss aversion helps explain sellers’ reluctance to sell their properties at a loss. BEHAVIORAL FINANCE AND SAVINGS Behavioral-finance theory also helps explain why many people refuse to join a 401(k) savings plan at work, even when their company matches their contributions. If one asks an employee who has become used to a particular level of take-home pay to increase his allocation to a retirement plan by one dollar, he will view the resulting deduction (even though it is less than a dollar because contributions to retirement plans are deductible from taxable income up to certain generous amounts) as a loss of current spending availability. Individuals weigh these losses much more heavily than gains. When this loss aversion is coupled with the difficulty of exhibiting self-control, the ease of procrastinating, and the ease of making no changes (status quo bias), it becomes, as psychologists teach us, perfectly understandable why people tend to save too little.

REAPING REWARD BY INCREASING RISK Beta and Systematic Risk The Capital-Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) Let’s Look at the Record An Appraisal of the Evidence The Quant Quest for Better Measures of Risk: Arbitrage Pricing Theory The Fama-French Three-Factor Model A Summing Up 10. BEHAVIORAL FINANCE The Irrational Behavior of Individual Investors Overconfidence Biased Judgments Herding Loss Aversion Pride and Regret Behavioral Finance and Savings The Limits to Arbitrage What Are the Lessons for Investors from Behavioral Finance? 1. Avoid Herd Behavior 2. Avoid Overtrading 3. If You Do Trade: Sell Losers, Not Winners 4. Other Stupid Investor Tricks Does Behavioral Finance Teach Ways to Beat the Market? 11. POTSHOTS AT THE EFFICIENT-MARKET THEORY AND WHY THEY MISS What Do We Mean by Saying Markets Are Efficient?

 

pages: 324 words: 92,805

The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

The very nature of the new financial tools meant any failure or breakdown would happen somewhere else, in time or space, and well outside Wall Street’s increasingly myopic field of vision. Or, to quote the acronym that traders and executives repeated whenever anyone raised concerns about the deals being done, “IBG YBG”—as in “I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone.”42 Gamblers, when their luck turns sour, often exhibit a behavioral tic known as loss aversion. It’s a survival thing—because we were adapted for scarcity, we’re predisposed to hate losing any sort of asset. In studies involving gambling, subjects perceive losses to be twice as large as wins even though the losses and wins involve the same amount of money.43 Loss aversion is why blackjack players will double-down repeatedly after a bad hand, and why stock traders will ride a losing stock into the ground. It’s also why homeowners often refuse to lower their selling price even when the market is collapsing, which is what began to happen in 2006.

“IBG YBG,” review of Jonathan Knee, The Accidental Investment Banker (Oxford University Press, 2006), in Words, Words, Words, http://wordsthrice.blogspot.com/2006/12/ibg-ybg.html. 43. Yexin Jessica Li, Douglas Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, and Stephen L. Neuberg, “Economic Decision Biases in Evolutionary Perspectives: How Mating and Self-Protection Motives Alter Loss Aversion,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 102, no. 3 (2012), http://www.csom.umn.edu/marketinginstitute/research/documents/HowMatingandSelf-ProtectionMotivesAlterLossAversion.pdf. 44. Interview with author. 45. William Lazonick, “The Innovative Enterprise and the Developmental State: Toward an Economics of ‘Organizational Success.’” Discussion paper presented at Finance, Innovation & Growth 2011. 46. William Lazonick, “Everyone Is Paying Price for Share Buybacks,” FT.com, Sept. 25, 2008, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/e75440f6-8b0e-11dd-b634-0000779fd18c.html#axzz2r21JdHWo. 47.

“One day, it was just over. We couldn’t sell the houses.”44 Adding to the misery, however, realtors now had to get clients to understand that the massive wealth they’d possessed only months before was now gone. “You had to counsel people. I had one client come to me. He had twelve houses. He had been buying them and flipping them, and he got stuck with twelve houses. I said to him, ‘The market has stopped.’ ” Loss aversion is also an apt description of how the entire market, and especially the financial market, reacted to the collapse—with increasingly desperate moves that made the final damage so much worse. As the economy stalled and corporate earnings flattened, panicked CEOs initiated massive share buybacks. In 2007, companies on the Standard & Poor’s 500 spent 62 percent of their net profits on buybacks. The following year, they spent 89 percent.45 The buybacks helped preserve share prices and executive compensation, but they also left the companies less able to weather the downturn.

 

pages: 241 words: 75,516

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, attribution theory, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, framing effect, income per capita, job satisfaction, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, Own Your Own Home, positional goods, price anchoring, psychological pricing, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

There is another feature of the graph worth noting: the loss portion of the graph is much steeper than the gain portion. Losing $100 produces a feeling of negativity that is more intense than the feelings of elation produced by a gain. Some studies have estimated that losses have more than twice the psychological impact as equivalent gains. The fact is, we all hate to lose, which Kahneman and Tversky refer to as loss aversion. The last and crucial element to the graph is the location of the neutral point. This is the dividing line between what counts as a gain and what counts as a loss, and here, too, subjectivity rules. When there is a difference in price between cash and credit at the gas station, is it a discount for cash or a surcharge for credit? If you think it’s a discount for cash, then you’re setting your neutral point at the credit-card price and paying cash is a gain.

You love to ride for exercise, especially in the hills outside the town in which you live. Is it worth the money? You think about it for a while and decide. Now imagine trying to decide whether to buy a mountain bike or a digital camera. Each option represents a gain (positive features it has that the other doesn’t) and a loss (positive features it doesn’t have that the other does). We saw in Chapter 3 that people tend to display loss aversion. The loss of $100 is more painful than the gain of $100 is pleasurable. What that means is that when the mountain bike and the digital camera are compared, each will suffer from the comparison. If you choose the camera, you’ll gain the quality and convenience of digital photography but lose the exercise in lovely surroundings. Because losses have a greater impact than gains, the net result will be that the camera fairs less well when compared with the mountain bike than it would have if you were evaluating it on its own.

Moxey, “Perspective in Statements of Quantity, with Implications for Consumer Psychology,” Psychological Science, 2002, 13, 130–134. Or suppose you are Many examples of phenomena discussed in this section can be found in articles collected in D. Kahneman and A. Tversky (eds.), Choices, Values, and Frames (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000). On the endowment effect, see D. Kahneman, J. Knetsch, and R. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias.” On decisions to sell stock, see T. Odean, “Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?” On sunk costs, see R. Thaler, “Mental Accounting Matters,” and R. Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice.” On health insurance decisions, see E. Johnson, J. Hershey, J. Mezaros, and H. Kunreuther, “Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions.” On health plans and pension plans, see C.

 

pages: 415 words: 125,089

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, buttonwood tree, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, experimental economics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fermat's Last Theorem, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, linear programming, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mental accounting, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, spectrum auction, statistical model, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

This behavior, although understandable, is inconsistent with the assumptions of rational behavior. The answer to a question should be the same regardless of the setting in which it is posed. Kahneman and Tversky interpret the evidence produced by these experiments as a demonstration that people are not risk-averse: they are perfectly willing to choose a gamble when they consider it appropriate. But if they are not risk-averse, what are they? "The major driving force is loss aversion," writes Tversky (italics added). "It is not so much that people hate uncertainty-but rather, they hate losing."6 Losses will always loom larger than gains. Indeed, losses that go unresolved-such as the loss of a child or a large insurance claim that never gets settled-are likely to provoke intense, irrational, and abiding risk-aversion.? Tversky offers an interesting speculation on this curious behavior: Probably the most significant and pervasive characteristic of the human pleasure machine is that people are much more sensitive to negative than to positive stimuli....

When the question was put in terms of life expectancy, only about 20% favored radiation. One of the most familiar manifestations of the failure of invariance is in the old Wall Street saw, "You never get poor by taking a profit." It would follow that cutting your losses is also a good idea, but investors hate to take losses, because, tax considerations aside, a loss taken is an acknowledgment of error. Loss-aversion combined with ego leads investors to gamble by clinging to their mistakes in the fond hope that some day the market will vindicate their judgment and make them whole. Von Neumann would not approve. The failure of invariance frequently takes the form of what is known as "mental accounting," a process in which we separate the components of the total picture. In so doing we fail to recognize that a decision affecting each component will have an effect on the shape of the whole.

Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally."4 Prospect Theory confirms Keynes's conclusion by predicting which decision you will make. First, the absolute performance of the stock you select is relatively unimportant. The start-up company's performance as compared with Johnson & Johnson's performance taken as a reference point is what matters. Second, loss aversion and anxiety will make the joy of winning on the start-up company less than the pain if you lose on it. Johnson & Johnson is an acceptable "long-term" holding even if it often underperforms. The stocks of good companies are not necessarily good stocks, but you can make life easier by agreeing with your clients that they are. So you advise your client to buy Johnson & Johnson. I am not making up a story out of whole cloth.

 

Quantitative Trading: How to Build Your Own Algorithmic Trading Business by Ernie Chan

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algorithmic trading, asset allocation, automated trading system, backtesting, Black Swan, Brownian motion, business continuity plan, compound rate of return, Elliott wave, endowment effect, fixed income, general-purpose programming language, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, p-value, paper trading, price discovery process, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, systematic trading, transaction costs

Hence, it is critical even if we trade using quantitative strategies to understand some of our own psychological weaknesses. Fortunately, there is a field of financial research called “behavioral finance” (Thaler, 1994) that studies irrational financial decision making. I will try to highlight a few of the common irrational behaviors that affect trading. The first behavioral bias is known variously as the endowment effect, status quo bias, or loss aversion. The first two effects cause some traders to hold on to a losing position for too long, because traders (and people in general) give too much preference to the status quo (the status quo bias), or because they demand much more P1: JYS c06 JWBK321-Chan September 24, 2008 Money and Risk Management 13:57 Printer: Yet to come 109 to give up the stock than what they would pay to acquire it (the endowment effect).

As I argued in the risk management section, there are rational reasons to hold on to a losing position (e.g., when you expect mean-reverting behavior); however, these behavioral biases cause traders to hold on to losing positions even when there is no rational reason (e.g., when you expect trending behavior, and the trend is such that your positions will lose even more). At the same time, the loss aversion bias causes some traders to exit their profitable positions too soon, even if holding longer will lead to a larger profit on average. Why do they exit the profitable positions so soon? Because the pain from possibly losing some of the current profits outweighs the pleasure from gaining higher profits. This behavioral bias manifests itself most clearly and most disastrously when one has entered a position by mistake (because of either a software bug, an operational error, or a data problem) and has incurred a big loss.

See Sharpe ratio Information, slow diffusion of, 117–118 Interactive Brokers, 15, 73, 82, 83 Investors, herdlike behavior of, 118–119 J January effect, 143–146 backtesting, 144–146 Java, 80, 85 P1: JYS ind JWBK321-Chan October 2, 2008 14:7 178 K Kalman filter, 116 Kavanaugh, Paul, 149 Kelly formula, 95, 97, 100–103, 105, 107, 153, 161 calculating the optimal allocation based on, 100–102 calculating the optimal leverage based on, 99 simple derivation of, when return distribution is Gaussian, 112–113 Kerviel, Jérôme, 160 Khandani, Amir, 104 Kirk Report, 10 L LeSage, James, 168 Leverage, 5, 95–103 Liquidnet, 73 Lo, Andrew, 104 Logical Information Machines, 35, 36 Long-only versus market-neutral strategies, calculating Sharpe ratio for, 45–47 Long-Term Capital Management, 110, 157 Long-term wealth, maximizing, 96 Look-ahead bias, 51–52 Loss aversion, 108–109 M Market impact, 22 MarketQA (Quantitative Analytics), 35 Markov models, hidden, 116, 121 Printer: Yet to come INDEX R , 21, 32–34, MATLAB 137–139 calculating optimal allocation using Kelly formula, 100–102 a quick survey of, 163–168 using in automated trading systems, 80, 81, 83, 85 using to avoid look-ahead bias, 51–52 using to backtest January effect, 144–146 mean-reverting strategy with and without transaction costs, 61–65 year-on-year seasonal trending strategy, 146–148 using to calculate maximum drawdown and its duration, 48–50 using to calculate Sharpe ratio for long-only strategies, 46–47 using for pair trading, 56–58, 59–60 using to scrape web pages for financial data, 34 MCSI Barra, 35, 136 Mean-reverting versus momentum strategies, 116–119 Mean-reverting time series, calculation of the half-life of, 141–142 Millennium Partners, 12 Model risk, 107 ModelStation (Clarifi), 35 Momentum strategies, mean-reverting versus, 116–119 P1: JYS ind JWBK321-Chan October 2, 2008 14:7 Index Money and risk management, 95–113 optimal capital allocation and leverage, 95–103 psychological preparedness, 108–111 risk management, 103–108 Murphy, Kevin, 168 N National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Series 7 examination, 70 National Bureau of Economic Research, 10 Neural networks, 116 New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), 16, 149 Northfield Information Services, 136 O Oanda, 37, 73 Octave, 33 O-Matrix, 33 Ornstein-Uhlenbeck formula, 140–141, 142 Out-of-sample testing, 53–55 P Pair trading of GLD and GDX, 55 Paper trading, 55 testing your system by, 89–90 Parameterless trading models, 54–55 PFG Futures, 73 Plus-tick rule, elimination of, 92, 120 Posit (ITG), 73 Position risk, 107 Printer: Yet to come 179 Post earnings announcement drift (PEAD), 118 Principal component analysis (PCA), 136–139 Profit and loss (P&L), 6, 89 curve, 20 Programming consultant, hiring a, 86–87 Psychological preparedness, 108–111 Q Qian, Edward, 154 Quantitative Analytics, 35 Quantitative Services Group, 136 Quantitative trading, 1–8 business case for, 4–8 demand on time, 5–7 marketing, nonnecessity of, 7–8 scalability, 5 the way forward, 8 special topics in, 115–156 exit strategy, 140–143 factor models, 133–139 high-frequency trading strategies, 151–153 high-leverage versus high-beta portfolio, 153–154 mean-reverting versus momentum strategies, 116–119 regime switching, 119–126 seasonal trading strategies, 143–151 stationarity and cointegration, 126–133 who can become a quantitative trader, 2–4 Quotes-plus.com, 37 P1: JYS ind JWBK321-Chan October 2, 2008 14:7 180 R Random walking, 116 REDIPlus trading platform (Goldman Sachs), 73, 82, 83, 84 Regime shifts, 25, 91–92 Regime switching, 119–126 academic attempts to model, 120–121 Markov, 121 using a machine learning tool to profit from, 122–126 Regulation T (SEC), 5, 14, 69–70 Renaissance Technologies Corporation, 104 Representativeness bias, 109 Reverse split, 38 Risk management, 103–108.

 

pages: 190 words: 53,409

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H. Frank

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, attribution theory, availability heuristic, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, experimental subject, framing effect, full employment, hindsight bias, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, income inequality, invisible hand, labor-force participation, labour mobility, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, side project, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, ultimatum game, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, winner-take-all economy

As the seventeenth-century British philosopher John Locke wrote, “every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.”8 With these words, Locke became the patron saint of tax resisters around the world. This sense of entitlement to the fruits of one’s labors may owe much to the phenomenon known as loss aversion. One of the most reliable findings in behavioral economics, loss aversion refers to the fact that people will fight much harder to avoid a loss than they would to achieve a gain of the same amount.9 Since most successful people work extremely hard for the money they earn, it feels like they own it, and that makes taxation feel like theft. But equating taxation and theft is difficult to defend. A country without taxes couldn’t field an army, after all, and would soon be overrun by a country that had one.

Chunliang Feng, Yi Luo, Ruolei Gu, Lucas S Broster, Xueyi Shen, Tengxiang Tian, Yue-Jia Luo, Frank Krueger, “The Flexible Fairness: Equality, Earned Entitlement, and Self-Interest,” PLOS ONE 8.9 (September 2013), http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0073106. 7. Mechanical Turk, https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome. 8. John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, 1689, chap. 5, section 27, http://www.constitution.org/jl/2ndtr05.htm. 9. Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5.1 (1991): 193–206. 10. Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, The Myth of Ownership, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. 11. David DeSteno, Monica Y. Bartlett, Jolie Baumann, Lisa A. Williams, and Leah Dickens, “Gratitude as Moral Sentiment: Emotion-Guided Cooperation in Economic Exchange,” Emotion 10.2 (2010): 289–93. 12. Monica Bartlett and David DeSteno, “Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior: Helping When It Costs You,” Psychological Science 17.4 (April 2006): 319–25. 13.

 

pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management

Confronted with a scowling enemy or a growling beast, those who hesitated were almost certainly lost. But in the modern world these cognitive shortcuts sometimes lead us astray. When it comes to money, focusing too hard on scowls and growls can cause us to act in a way that seems irrational and can ultimately harm rather than help us. As illustration of this, Kahneman and Tversky evoked the universal phenomenon of loss aversion, the tendency of most people to strongly prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring gains. At first blush this sounds counterintuitive. Doesn’t everyone want to win? The answer, of course, is yes, but not as much as we don’t want to lose. If you don’t play, you can’t win, but you also can’t lose. And that’s the reason so many of us decline to play when we should. Not playing results in lost opportunities, but scientists have shown that humans are not wired to spontaneously factor in missed opportunities, particularly when those opportunities are projected far into the future.

Not playing results in lost opportunities, but scientists have shown that humans are not wired to spontaneously factor in missed opportunities, particularly when those opportunities are projected far into the future. We are wired, however, to worry a good deal about losing. And when it comes to feelings of loss, it is not necessarily the actual loss but the perception of loss that keeps us from acting in what would seem to be a rational manner. Loss aversion is what spurs a scorned lover to cling to a bad relationship, an unhappy worker to cling to a bad job, and unhappy stockholders to cling to a plummeting stock rather than sell the loser and invest the proceeds in something more promising. In the latter case, the only logical reason to hold a stock is that you believe it is likely to grow in value. But because of our reluctance to admit mistakes and to cleave to what we already own, many of us prefer to avoid facing that central issue.

Kresge Company Kristof, Nicholas Kroger Supermarkets Krummeck, Elsie labor arbitrage labor exploitation in China, worldwide effects of labor movement labor unions Landsman, Janet Lasch, Christopher Lawrence, Robert Lawrie, George lean-retailing techniques Leonhardt, David Les Halles Levi Strauss Levitt, Alfred Levitt, William Levitt and Sons Levy, Leon Lichtenstein, Donald Lichtenstein, Nelson The Limited Lindell, Jens Lindgren, Charlotte Linnaeus, Carl livestock industry Locke, Richard Long, Huey P. Lord & Taylor Los Angeles Times loss aversion loss leaders Lowenstein, George Lowe’s Lundgren, Gillis luxury goods LVMH Macy’s Madoff, Michael mail-in rebates mail-order business mainstream retailers discount sections in markdowns by, growth of malls Gruen’s architectural designs improving patron satisfaction with mall attributes outlet (See outlet malls) Malmendier, Ulrike Mammoth Mart mangrove forest, shrimp farming’s impact on Mankiw, Gregory Mansfield, Jayne manual labor manufacturer’s suggested price (MSP) markdown money markdowns free of imported goods by mainstream retailers optimization of seasonal variations setting amount of types of market value Marshall Field’s mass production adoption of European-style techniques and clothing market cotton gin Ford’s assembly line gun manufacture home construction Matlock, Larry Mattel mattress industry maximum price regulations, during World War II, Maxwell, Sarah May Department Stores McDonald, David McDonald’s McGovern, Charles McKinley, William McNair, Malcolm P.

 

pages: 336 words: 113,519

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

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Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, endowment effect, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, John von Neumann, loss aversion, medical residency, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Nate Silver, New Journalism, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, statistical model, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

The two problems were identical, but, in the first case, when the choice was framed as a gain, the subjects elected to save 200 people for sure (which meant that 400 people would die for sure, though the subjects weren’t thinking of it that way). In the second case, with the choice framed as a loss, they did the reverse, and ran the risk that they’d kill everyone. People did not choose between things. They chose between descriptions of things. Economists, and anyone else who wanted to believe that human beings were rational, could rationalize, or try to rationalize, loss aversion. But how did you rationalize this? Economists assumed that you could simply measure what people wanted from what they chose. But what if what you want changes with the context in which the options are offered to you? “It was a funny point to make because the point within psychology would have been banal,” the psychologist Richard Nisbett later said. “Of course we are affected by how the decision is presented!”

“What made the theory important and what made it viable were completely different,” said Danny, years later. “Science is a conversation and you have to compete for the right to be heard. And the competition has its rules. And the rules, oddly enough, are that you are tested on formal theory.” After they finally sent a draft of their paper to the economics journal Econometrica, Danny was perplexed by the editor’s response. “I was kind of hoping he’d say, ‘Loss aversion is a really cool idea.’ He said, ‘No, I like the math.’ I was sort of shattered.” By 1976, purely for marketing purposes, they changed their title to “Prospect Theory.” “The idea was to give the theory a completely distinct name that would have no associations whatsoever,” said Danny. “When you say ‘prospect theory,’ no one knows what you’re talking about. We thought: Who knows? It may turn out to be influential.

But by then it was clear that no matter how often people trained in statistics affirmed the truth of Danny and Amos’s work, people who weren’t would insist that they knew better. * * * Upon their arrival in North America, Amos and Danny had published a flurry of papers together. Mostly it was stuff they’d had in the works when they’d left Israel. But in the early 1980s what they wrote together was not done in the same way as before. Amos wrote a piece on loss aversion under both their names, to which Danny added a few stray paragraphs. Danny wrote up on his own what Amos had called “The Undoing Project,” titled it “The Simulation Heuristic,” and published it with both their names on top, in a book that collected their articles, along with others by students and colleagues. (And then set out to explore the rules of the imagination not with Amos but with his younger colleague at the University of British Columbia, Dale Miller.)

 

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence by Stephen D. King

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, congestion charging, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, endowment effect, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, loss aversion, market clearing, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, railway mania, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population

Entrepreneurial spirit vanishes, replaced by a desire only to protect existing income and wealth. This feature is not uniquely Argentine or Japanese. It is a deeply embedded psychological characteristic. It’s called loss aversion. Standard economic theory suggests that individuals treat gains and losses in similar fashion. In reality, however, people dislike losses far more than they enjoy gains. An economic system that seems to offer individuals the equal possibility of gains and losses – a world of stagnation rather than growth – is one that’s likely to be dominated by loss aversion. Entrepreneurial activity falls by the wayside. What we already think we have – or we are entitled to – we’ll not give up easily, even if we are much better off than previous generations. We are hard-­wired from birth to think in this way and 40 4099.indd 40 29/03/13 2:23 PM The Pain of Stagnation no amount of rational discussion makes ‘letting go’ any easier.

The Buyers had to spend their own money to purchase a mug, while the Choosers were offered the choice of either a mug or a sum of money. The Sellers started off with mugs but no money. In their experiments, the authors found that Sellers valued their mugs far 41 4099.indd 41 29/03/13 2:23 PM When the Money Runs Out more highly than the Choosers even though both groups were, in effect, faced with the same choice: both would go home either with a mug or some cash. The difference relates to loss aversion. We don’t like to lose things we already own. The Sellers had an ‘emotional’ attachment to their coffee mugs. This psychological insight is incredibly important in a world of economic stagnation or contraction, Smith’s dull and melancholy states. Melancholia sets in not just because there is an absence of economic progress but, worse, because there is a fight over the spoils of economic endeavour.

L. 41 Knickerbocker Trust Company 131 Korea 14, 193, 195, 202–4, 205 Krugman, Paul 112–15, 117, 118–19 labour market 115–16, 252 productivity 53 Landes, David 26 Latin American debt crisis 216 Layard, Richard 114, 117 Lehman Brothers 30, 255 Leveson inquiry 148 Libor 126 life expectancy 47 liquidity 84, 90 liquidity trap 72 Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) 83 Little Dorrit (Dickens) 138–9 living standards 11, 27, 158, 169, 180–1 belief in ever rising 13, 34 China 27 Indonesia 197 Japan 23 Korea 195 late 19th century 185, 186 Malaysia 198 post-Second World War 139 US 11, 163 loan-to-value ratios, mortgage 51–2 Long Depression 189–90 loss aversion 40–1 lotteries 164–5 Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) 233 macroeconomic policies 32, 60, 121, 181, 253 Japan 21 macroprudential rules 256 Madoff, Bernie 35 Mahathir Mohamad 198–201, 205 Malaysia 193, 198–201, 205 Malthus, Thomas 37–9 Manchester United 165–6 Marr, Wilhelm 189 Marx, Karl 57, 179–80 Mary Poppins 131–2 May Report 98 Megawati Sukarnoputri 197 Mellon, Andrew 106, 108 Mexico 158 Mieno, Yasushi 21 miners 103–4 Mississippi 163 mistrust creditors and debtors 141 cross-border 176 endemic 147–9 governments 140, 217–18 of money 219–21 and political extremism 227 monetarism 59 monetary policy 58, 68–74, 77–9, 87–9, 97, 111–12 a new monetary framework 245–50 see also Gold Standard; interest rates; quantitative easing (QE) Monetary Policy Committee 90–1 monetary unions 236–7 see also eurozone moral hazard 62 mortgage-backed securities 30, 65, 136–7 mortgages 51–2, 63–5 Napoleon Bonaparte 156 Napoleon III 182 National Bank of North America 131 national incomes 32, 49–50, 141–2, 247 Germany 33 Japan 32 UK 33, 110–11, 112 US 33, 70, 109, 115, 117–18 284 4099.indd 284 29/03/13 2:23 PM Index National Lottery 164–5 nationalism 228 the Netherlands 48 New Deal 108–9 ‘new economy’ of the 1990s 29–30 New Order (Indonesia) 197 New Zealand 187 Nicholson, Viv 50 Nigeria 19 Northern Rock 30, 51–2, 129, 255 Norway 158 Occupy movement 162, 170–1 Office for Budget Responsibility 33 Oliver Twist (Dickens) 43 Osborne, George 231 Overend, Gurney and Co. 131 painkillers 70–1, 89 ‘The Panic of 1873’ 186 Paul, Ron 93 Peasants’ Revolt 213 Pension Protection Fund (PPF) 172 pensioners’ voting patterns 88 pensions 47, 51, 75, 171–3, 174 per capita incomes 27, 49, 159–60, 163 Argentina and Germany 14 China 251 France 101, 105 Germany 101, 105 India 27, 251 Indonesia 197 Japan 21 Korea 202 Malaysia 198 UK 1, 44, 101, 105 US 14, 101, 105 Perón, Eva 16 Perón, Juan 16–17 Pew Center report 173 Pickett, Kate 159 Pigou, Arthur 59 policies and central bankers 65 fiscal 58, 66–7, 69–70, 77–8, 246–7 macroeconomic 21, 32, 60, 121, 181, 253 monetary 58, 68–74, 77–9, 87–9, 97, 111–12 new monetary framework 245–50 political extremism 226–9 politics and central bankers 78, 89–90, 91–5 and economics 24–6, 34, 102, 191–2, 217 and the eurozone 224–5, 237 and expectations 152–3 and income inequality 160–1 and lack of trust 147–8, 149 and monetary regimes 119–20 voters 50, 78, 88, 222, 242–4 poll tax 211 populations, ageing 78, 88, 250 age-related expenditure 48 generational divide 171–4, 241, 243–5 Germany 136 Japan 23, 25 Portugal 50, 146, 158, 191 precious metal standards 183–4 see also Gold Standard prices asset 73 commodity 77, 109, 116–17 rising 157 see also deflation; inflation property sector see housing markets protectionism 214–15 capital controls 16, 199–200, 201, 234 tariffs 16 Protestant work ethic 26, 28 public sector see governments public spending 49–50, 66, 142, 147–8, 203 government spending 58, 109, 119 social spending 45–7 quantitative easing (QE) 72–82, 84–6, 91, 97, 176–7 ratings agencies 234–5 rationing 114–15, 142–3 recessions 2 recovery from the Asian crisis 195–6, 204–5, 206, 208–9 UK in the 1930s 101–2 redistribution by stealth 90 Reform Acts 222, 242–3 regulation 125, 256 dangers of further 214, 251 dollar transactions 177 reduction 168 the regulatory trap 83–4 Statute of Labourers 213 renminbi (currency) 177 Réveillon, Jean-Baptiste 155–6 Ricardo, David 183–4 Richard II 211–12 ringgit (currency) 198 285 4099.indd 285 29/03/13 2:23 PM When the Money Runs Out risk and banks 255–6 creditors and debtors imbalance 234 and financial services 168 and rapid economic change 170 risk aversion 216 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 107–9, 117–18, 119, 219 Royal Bank of Scotland 30 Royal Navy 99 Russia 117, 135 Rwanda 19 Samuel, Herbert 104 Saudi Arabia 117, 135 savers and banks 136 confidence 65 and illusions 137 and income inequality 162–3 and interest rates 90, 91, 97 and the subprime boom 133–4 schisms between debtors and creditors 174–7, 191 generational 170–4 income inequality 158–70 Schwartz, Anna 59, 106, 188 second-hand car market 123–4 Sierra Leone 163 silver standard 183 SIVs (structured investment vehicles) 129–30 Skidelsky, R. and E. 37 Smith, Adam 39–40, 207 melancholy state 42, 124–5, 159–60 Snowden’s budget 99–102, 105 soccer 165 social contract, between generations 244–5 social insurance 44–8 social security systems 12 social spending 45–7 Soros, George 200 South Korea 14, 193, 195, 202–4, 205 South Sea Bubble 29 space exploration 9–10, 35 Spain deficit 54, 134 and the eurozone 191, 235–6 exports 82 fiscal position 85 government borrowing 144 interest rates 146 political disenfranchisement 95 property bubble 140 suicide of Amaia Egana 153 spending government 58, 109, 119 public sector 49–50, 66, 142, 147–8, 203 social 45–7 stagnation 37–43, 50, 52–3, 158, 219 and political extremism 227–8 Standard & Poor’s 80 ‘stately home’ effect 221–3 Statute of Labourers 211, 213 sterling 98–106, 110 Stern Review 38–9 stimulus 3–4 and jobs 116 monetary and fiscal 30, 57–8, 181 Paul Krugman 112–15, 118–19 policy 32, 69–70, 82 political debate 205 prior to the financial crisis 67 stock markets 20–1, 30, 193 stock-market crashes 18, 61–2, 66, 99, 186 Straw, Jack 212 structured investment vehicles (SIVs) 129–30 subprime boom 130, 133–4 crisis 190 Suharto 196–7, 205 surpluses 66, 135–7, 204, 232–4 Sweden 158, 204 Switzerland 158, 184 Taiwan 14 Takeshita, Noburo 24 Tanzania 19 tariffs 16 tax avoidance 49, 211, 214 taxation ancien régime and the French Revolution 154–5 death duties 139 medieval poll tax 211 taxpayers 145, 170, 174, 215, 254 technological progress 2–3, 10–11 dotcom bubble 169 and financial industry wages 167 Industrial Revolution 38 Thailand 193, 195 Thaler, R.

 

pages: 369 words: 128,349

Beyond the Random Walk: A Guide to Stock Market Anomalies and Low Risk Investing by Vijay Singal

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, capital asset pricing model, correlation coefficient, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, index arbitrage, index fund, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, mental accounting, merger arbitrage, new economy, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, short selling, transaction costs, Vanguard fund

Understanding and Learning from Behavioral Finance Investors hold losers for too long and sell winners too quickly. Most investors suffer from the tendency to hold on to losers for too long because they are loss-averse and do not wish to realize a loss. Investors are also overconfident and do not believe that they made a bad decision. They hope that the stock will turn around. By the time they accept an error in judgment, it is too late. Investors also make a sharp distinction between paper losses or gains and realized losses or gains, fooling themselves into believing that a paper loss/gain is not a real loss/gain. Similarly and based on loss aversion, there is a tendency to realize profits quickly before the investment becomes a loss. Investors trade too much. Chasing winners and the ease of Internet trading causes excessive trading.

Even though the real change in salary is –6 percent for the first worker and 2 percent for the second worker, the pay raises are framed and compared separately from inflation rates. Consequently, the first worker is likely to be happier than the second. In the same vein, investors look at each stock individually, not as part of a portfolio as traditional economists assume. As a result, investors engage in mental accounting. They tend to value stocks that pay dividends more than stocks that pay capital gains. They tend to be loss-averse rather than risk averse. Some experiments find that investor behavior is consistent with frame dependence. For example, investors are known to hold losers for too long because they are averse to realizing a loss. On the other hand, investors sell winners too quickly because they don’t want to see the winner become a loser. Explaining Anomalous Price Patterns with Behavioral Finance Since the behavior outlined with frame dependence and heuristics is not economically rational, what does it mean?

A Unified Theory of Underreaction, Momentum Trading, and Overreaction in Asset Markets. Journal of Finance 54(6), 2143–84. Kadlec, Gregory B., and John J. McConnell. 1994. The Effect of Market Segmentation and Illiquidity on Asset Prices: Evidence from Exchange Listings. Journal of Finance 49(2), 611–36. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler. 1991. Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias. Journal of Economic Perspectives 5(1), 193–206. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. 1979. Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk. Econometrica 47(2), 263–92. Mackenzie, Craig. 1997. Where Are the Motives? A Problem with Evidence in the Work of Richard Thaler. Journal of Economic Psychology 18(1), 123–35. Merton, Robert C. 1987. Presidential Address: A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information.

 

pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen

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Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

The economically correct answer is to view the two sure outcomes as equal in comparing them to the series of risks. But in the laboratory subjects typically are more averse to the prospect framed in terms of a loss (“loss aversion”). More specifically, once the outcome is framed in terms of a loss, people will accept greater gambles to try to avoid any loss at all, compared to the risks they will take when the position is framed in terms of gains. In the study, the autistic subjects did significantly better at seeing that the talk of “loss” and “gain” was mere framing and that the two options should be treated the same, although they too showed some degree of loss aversion. Skin conductance tests run during the experiment indicated that the autistics reacted less emotionally to framing the one option in terms of loss rather than gain. In other words, the mere fact that a material resource is viewed as “theirs” seems to bias autistics less than it does non-autistics.

., 195 Joyce, James, 166 Kant, Immanuel, 203–4 Keillor, Frank, 103 Kendall, Joshua, 29 Kidmondo, 9 Kindle, 43, 62 Klein, Naomi, 198 Knecht, Joseph (fictional character), 160–66 Krugman, Paul, 111–12 Lamoureux, Hugo, 190 late-talking children, 26 Laurie, Hugh, 154 least-common-denominator effect, 134 libraries, 43 Lil’Grams, 9 LinkedIn, 83 literature, 139, 146, 147–48, 170–71. See also Holmes, Sherlock LiveJournal discussion group, 35 Living to Tell the Tale (Márquez), 120 local processing or perception, 18, 19, 36 Locke, John, 177, 204 The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), 127 loss aversion, 196 lunch, duration of, 43 Mackenzie, Henry, 168 macroeconomics, 138 magazines, 44 manipulation, 139–41 Mankiw, Greg, 111–12, 114 mantras, 95 The Man Who Made Lists (Kendall), 29 Marginal Revolution blog, 1 market economy, 201 Márquez, Gabriel García, 120 marriage, 217–18 Marx, Karl, 216 mathematics, 19, 24, 153 Maxim, 44 McLuhan, Marshall, 65–66 media coverage, 34, 135–36 meditation, 94–95, 96 meetways.com, 131 Mehrling, Perry, 96–97 Melville, Herman, 166 memory, 18, 130, 195 Mendel, Gregor, 25, 166 mental ordering.

 

pages: 270 words: 64,235

Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code by Jeff Atwood

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AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, cloud computing, endowment effect, Firefox, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, gravity well, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Merlin Mann, Minecraft, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, price anchoring, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, science of happiness, Skype, social software, Steve Jobs, web application, Y Combinator

But when a truffle was $0.14 and a kiss was free, 69 percent chose the kiss and 31 percent the truffle. According to standard economic theory, the price reduction shouldn’t have led to any behavior change, but it did. Ariely’s theory is that for normal transactions, we consider both upside and downside. But when something is free, we forget about the downside. “Free” makes us perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is. Humans are loss-averse; when considering a normal purchase, loss-aversion comes into play. But when an item is free, there is no visible possibility of loss. You will tend to overestimate the value of items you get for free. Resist this by viewing free stuff skeptically rather than welcoming it with open arms. If it was really that great, why would it be free? Free stuff often comes with well hidden and subtle strings attached. How will using a free service or obtaining a free item influence your future choices?

Break up large purchases, when possible, into smaller ones over time so that you can savor the entire experience. When it comes to happiness, frequency is more important than intensity. Embrace the idea that lots of small, pleasurable purchases are actually more effective than a single giant one. 4. Buy less insurance Humans adapt readily to both positive and negative change. Extended warranties and insurance prey on your impulse for loss aversion, but because we are so adaptable, people experience far less regret than they anticipate when their purchases don’t work out. Furthermore, having the easy “out” of insurance or a generous return policy can paradoxically lead to even more angst and unhappiness because people deprived themselves of the emotional benefit of full commitment. Thus, avoid buying insurance, and don’t seek out generous return policies. 5.

 

pages: 487 words: 151,810

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, business process, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial independence, Flynn Effect, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, impulse control, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, loss aversion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monroe Doctrine, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Walter Mischel, young professional

In the nonaroused state, 23 percent said they could imagine having sex with a twelve-year-old girl. In the aroused state, 46 percent said they could imagine it. In the nonaroused state, 20 percent said they would try to have sex with their date after she said no. In the aroused state, 45 percent said they would keep trying. Finally, there is loss aversion. Losing money brings more pain than winning money brings pleasure. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky asked people if they would accept certain bets. They found that people needed the chance of winning $40 if they were going to undergo a bet that might cost them $20. Because of loss aversion investors are quicker to sell stocks that have made them money than they are to sell stocks that have been declining. They’re making self-destructive decisions because they don’t want to admit their losses. Rebirth Gradually Erica acquired a new vocabulary to define unconscious biases.

Ornstein, Multimind: A New Way of Looking at Human Behavior (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996), 86. 21 high Social Security numbers Dan Ariely, “The Fallacy of Supply and Demand,” Huffington Post, March 20, 2008, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-ariely/the-fallacy-of-supply-and_b_92590.html. 22 People who are given Hallinan, 50. 23 “Their predictions became” Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide (New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2009), 146. 24 They just stick with Thaler and Sunstein, 34. 25 The picture of the smiling Hallinan, 101. 26 In the aroused state Ariely, 96 and 106. 27 Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky Jonah Lehrer, “Loss Aversion,” The Frontal Cortex, February 10, 2010, http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/02/loss_aversion.php. CHAPTER 12: FREEDOM AND COMMITMENT 1 In Guess culture Oliver Burkerman, “This Column Will Change Your Life,” The Guardian, May 8, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/may/08/change-life-asker-guesser. 2 Thirty-eight percent of young Americans “Pew Report on Community Satisfaction,” Pew Research Center (January 29, 2009): 10, http://pewsocialtrends.org/assets/pdf/Community-Satisfaction.pdf. 3 In Western Europe William A.

 

pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, income inequality, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, Zipcar

New Haven, CT: Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University. Shleifer, Andrei. 2000. Ine cient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Shubik, Martin. 2009. A Proposal for a Federal Employment Reserve Authority. Economics Policy Note 09-5. New York: Levy Economics Institute. Simmons, Joseph P., and Nathan Novemsky. 2009. “From Loss Aversion to Loss Acceptance: Context E ects on Loss Aversion in Risky Choice.” Working Paper. New Haven, CT: Yale School of Management. Small, Deborah A., George Loewenstein, and Paul Slovic. 2007. “Sympathy and Callousness: The Impact of Deliberative Thought on Donations to Identi able and Statistical Victims.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 102(2):143– 53. Smith, Adam. 1761. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Second Edition.

The “gaming industry,” as it styles itself, defends its activities as a form of entertainment. Certainly it is that, but it is unique among entertainment forms in that it cultivates and ampli es to a considerable extent human risk-taking impulses, sometimes with disastrous consequences. The puzzle comes down to why one would be willing to place even one single bet at a casino. Research by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky has shown that people exhibit a tendency toward loss aversion.1 They are pathologically avoidant of even small losses. If o ered an asymmetrical bet on a coin toss—to win $20 if it comes up heads, to lose $10 if it comes up tails—most people will turn down the bet, even though it has a positive expected return of $5. How then are gambling casinos able to induce people to place bets with a negative expected return, and to do so again and again despite having experienced repeated losses?

See language Linnainmaa, Juhani, 31 liquidity, 40, 62, 144 livelihood insurance, 67 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, 126 living wages, 150 Li Zhisui, 182 loans, 38, 42, 43, 44. See also debt; mortgages Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, 90 lobbyists: for accountants’ groups, 102; for financial industry, 87, 88–89, 90, 92; former members of Congress, 88; gifts, 90; motives, 91; power, 87–88, 89–90, 92; public perceptions, 91; reforms, 92–93; regulation of, 88, 89–90, 92–93; roles, 87–89, 90–91 Locke, John, 145 Lorenz, Konrad, 226, 229 loss aversion, 160 lotteries, 140. See also gambling lottery-linked savings, 177 loyalty, 215 Lummis, Cynthia, 193 Luther, Martin, 141 Macmillan, Harold, 212 MacroMarkets LLC, 98 MacroShares, 98 Madoff, Bernard, 17, 95–96, 98 manics, 173 Mao Zedong, 174, 182, 233 market designers, 69–71, 73–74. See also financial engineers; financial innovations market makers, 57, 61–62. See also traders markets: efficiency, 169–70; liquidity, 62; for marriage partners, 71–74; new, 62–63, 69–71, 73–74; price discovery, 8, 132, 185; trading in, 29–30, 46; trust in, 36; valuations made by, 58–60, 63.

 

pages: 518 words: 147,036

The Fissured Workplace by David Weil

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, barriers to entry, business process, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, employer provided health coverage, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, intermodal, inventory management, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, law of one price, loss aversion, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, occupational segregation, performance metric, pre–internet, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, Rana Plaza, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, ultimatum game, union organizing, women in the workforce, Y2K, yield management

If the pay of the group just above me is too high—or if the gap widens over time—I may be less and less happy with the pay I receive, regardless of its absolute level. Psychologists have long known that people care more about a small loss in income than about an equal gain in income.25 This effect—called loss aversion—means that perceptions of being adversely affected by a change in a current situation will make people feel worse than a comparable improvement in position makes them feel better. In a workplace context, loss aversion means that if a worker’s pay situation changes in a way that is judged unfair, it will have larger effects than if the situation changes in a way that is judged as improving fairness. Wage comparisons across different occupations or jobs can have this effect. Imagine that I have a job I view as “better” (for example, requiring more skill or savvy) than another job at my workplace.

For example, Herbert Meyer, on the basis of his research on personnel policies, recommended that firms give “all employees judged to be performing at a satisfactory level the same percentage increase whenever salaries are adjusted upward.” In so doing, “a predictable salary progress schedule not only should help to reduce uncertainty about future pay but also should prevent the development of false expectations. In addition it should minimize dysfunctional competition between individuals for favored treatment.” Quoted in Foulkes (1980, 186). 25. Fehr, Goette, and Zehnder (2009, 378). The literature on loss aversion and “framing” in psychology is extensive. The seminal papers are Tversky and Kahneman (1974) and Kahneman and Tversky (1984). Kahneman (2011) provides an overview of the extensive research in the field in the decades following those landmark works. 26. Slichter, Healy, and Livernash (1960) explained the common practice of uniform pay increases with job grades with minimal performance evaluation in union and nonunion facilities as an outgrowth of union avoidance and the constant problems of defending merit-based evaluations in the minds of workers.

Yensavage, 347n50 Lenny, Richard, 115 Lettire Construction, 233–234 Liability: as issue in fissuring, 78; tests to assess, 186, 190; vicarious liability defined, 189; and subcontracting, 190–192; and multiemployer settings, 192–195, 233–234; and franchising, 195–201; and supply chain relationships, 201–203 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, 209 Litton Industries, 36 Locke, Richard, 174, 264, 365n39, 366n41 Logistics industry: and outsourcing, 57–58, 63; and fissuring, 96, 117–118, 160–167 Loss aversion, 85–86 LRSolutions, 275–276 Lyons and Sons, 115–117, 321n55 Maintenance services, and outsourcing, 55–56 Markets. See Capital markets; Financial markets; Internal labor markets; Labor market; Stock market Marriott, 2–3, 146, 150; and branding, 331n54 Massachusetts: and franchising, 198–199; and presumption of employee status, 204–205 Massey Doctrine, 102–103, 107, 369n17 Massey Upper Big Branch (mine disaster), 238 McDonald’s, 127, 259, 261, 323n4, 325n14; Miller v.

 

pages: 368 words: 96,825

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator

Sometimes this is correct, but sometimes this will take you right off a cliff. Thinking in first principles protects you from these errors.” When it comes to scale, these aren’t the only errors one must guard against. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky won the Nobel Prize for their work on human irrationality. One great example of this is what happens when two of the most common cognitive biases—loss aversion and narrow framing—begin to overlap. Loss aversion is the idea that humans are more sensitive to losses—even small losses—than gains, while narrow framing is our tendency to treat every risk we encounter as an isolated incident. In combination, what this means is when we go to assess risk, we tend not to look at the entire picture. In an interview with Big Think, Kahneman explained it like this:12 People tend to frame things very narrowly.

., 27 LIDAR, 43–44, 44 life-extension projects, 66, 81 Li’l Abner (comic strip), 71 Lincoln, Abraham, 109, 194 Lindbergh, Charles, 112, 244, 245, 259–60 linear growth, 7, 9 linear industries, 38, 116 exponential technologies in disrupting of, 17, 18–22 linear organizations, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 76, 85, 116 LinkedIn, 77, 213, 231 Lintott, Chris, 220 Linux, 11, 163 Littler Workplace Policy Institute, 60 live-streaming, in crowdsourcing campaigns, 207 Lloyd, Gareth, 4 Local Motors, 33, 217, 223–25, 231, 238, 240, 241 Locke, Edwin, 23, 74, 75, 103 Lockheed, 71–72, 75 Lockheed Martin, 249 Longitude Prize, 245, 247, 267 long-term thinking, 116, 128, 130–31, 132–33, 138 Los Angeles, Calif., 258 loss aversion, 121 Louis Pasteur Université, 104 Lovins, Amory, 222 MacCready, Paul, 263 McDowell, Mike, 291n machine learning, 54–55, 58, 66, 85, 137, 167, 216 see also artificial intelligence (AI) Macintosh computer, 72 McKinsey & Company, 245 McLucas, John, 102 Macondo Prospect, 250 macrotasks, crowdsourcing of, 156, 157–58 Made in Space, 36–37 Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Heath and Heath), 248 MakerBot printers, 39 Makers (Doctorow), 38 MakieLabs, 39 manufacturing, 33, 41 biological, 63–64 digital, 33 in DIY communities, 223–25 robotics in, 62 subtractive vs. additive, 29–30, 31 3–D printing’s impact on, 30, 31, 34–35 Marines, US, 222 Markoff, John, 56 Mars missions, 99, 118–19, 128 Mars Oasis project, 118 Maryland, University of, 74 Maryniak, Gregg, 244 Mashable, 238 massively transformative purpose (MTP), 215, 221, 230, 231, 233, 240, 242, 274 in incentive competitions, 249, 255, 263, 265, 270 mastery, 79, 80, 85, 87, 92 materials, in crowdfunding campaigns, 195 Maven Research, 145 Maxwell, John, 114n Mead, Margaret, 247 Mechanical Turk, 157 meet-ups, 237 Menlo Ventures, 174 message boards, 164 Mexican entrepreneurs, 257–58 Michigan, University of, 135, 136 microfactories, 224, 225 microlending, 172 microprocessors, 49, 49 Microsoft, 47, 50, 99 Microsoft Windows, 27 Microsoft Word, 11 microtasks, crowdsourcing of, 156–57, 166 Mightybell, 217, 233 Migicovsky, Eric, 175–78, 186, 191, 193, 198, 199, 200, 206, 209 Millington, Richard, 233 Mims, Christopher, 290n MIT, 27, 60, 100, 101, 103, 291n mobile devices, 14, 42, 42, 46, 46, 47, 49, 124, 125, 135, 146, 163, 176 see also smartphones Modernizing Medicine, 57 monetization: in incentive competitions, 263 of online communities, 241–42 Montessori education, 89 moonshot goals, 81–83, 93, 98, 103, 104, 110, 245, 248 Moore, Gordon, 7 Moore’s Law, 6–7, 9, 12, 31, 64 Mophie, 18 moral leadership, 274–76 Morgan Stanley, 122, 132 Mosaic, 27, 32, 33, 57 motivation, science of, 78–80, 85, 87, 92, 103 incentive competitions and, 148, 254, 255, 262–63 Murphy’s Law, 107–8 Museum of Flight (Seattle), 205 music industry, 11, 20, 124, 125, 127, 161 Musk, Elon, xiii, 73, 97, 111, 115, 117–23, 128, 134, 138, 139, 167, 223 thinking-at-scale strategies of, 119–23, 127 Mycoskie, Blake, 80 Mycroft, Frank, 180 MySQL, 163 Napoléon I, Emperor of France, 245 Napster, 11 Narrative Science, 56 narrow framing, 121 NASA, 96, 97, 100, 102, 110, 123, 221, 228, 244 Ames Research Center of, 58 Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of, 99 Mars missions of, 99, 118 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), 226 National Institutes of Health, 64, 227 National Press Club, 251 navigation, in online communities, 232 Navteq, 47 Navy Department, US, 72 NEAR Shoemaker mission, 97 Netflix, 254, 255 Netflix Prize, 254–56 Netscape, 117, 143 networks and sensors, x, 14, 21, 24, 41–48, 42, 45, 46, 66, 275 information garnered by, 42–43, 44, 47, 256 in robotics, 60, 61 newcomer rituals, 234 Newman, Tom, 268 New York Times, xii, 56, 108, 133, 145, 150, 155, 220 Nickell, Jake, 143, 144 99designs, 145, 158, 166, 195 Nivi, Babak, 174 Nokia, 47 Nordstrom, 72 Nye, Bill, 180, 200, 207 “Oatmeal, the” (web comic), 178, 179, 193, 196, 200 Oculus Rift, 182 O’Dell, Jolie, 238–39 oil-cleanup projects, 247, 250–53, 262, 263, 264 Olguin, Carlos, 65 1Qbit, 59 operational assets, crowdsourcing of, 158–60 Orteig Prize, 244, 245, 259, 260, 263 Oxford Martin School, 62 Page, Carl, 135 Page, Gloria, 135 Page, Larry, xiii, 53, 74, 81, 84, 99, 100, 115, 126, 128, 134–39, 146 thinking-at-scale strategies of, 136–38 PageRank algorithm, 135 parabolic flights, 110–12, 123 Paramount Pictures, 151 Parliament, British, 245 passion, importance of, 106–7, 113, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 134, 174, 180, 183, 184, 248, 249 in online communities, 224, 225, 228, 231, 258 PayPal, 97, 117–18, 167, 201 PC Tools, 150 Pebble Watch campaign, 174, 175–78, 179, 182, 186, 187, 191, 200, 206, 208, 209, 210 pitch video in, 177, 198, 199 peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, 172 Pelton, Joseph, 102 personal computers (PCs), 26, 76 Peter’s Laws, 108–14 PHD Comics, 200 philanthropic prizes, 267 photography, 3–6, 10, 15 demonetization of, 12, 15 see also digital cameras; Kodak Corporation Pink, Daniel, 79 Pishevar, Shervin, 174 pitch videos, 177, 180, 192, 193, 195, 198–99, 203, 212 Pivot Power, 19 Pixar, 89, 111 Planetary Resources, Inc., 34, 95, 96, 99, 109, 172, 175, 179, 180, 186, 189–90, 193, 195, 201–3, 221, 228, 230 Planetary Society, 190, 200 Planetary Vanguards, 180, 201–3, 212, 230 PlanetLabs, 286n +Pool, 171 Polaroid, 5 Polymath Project, 145 Potter, Gavin, 255–56 premium memberships, 242 PricewaterhouseCoopers, 146 Prime Movers, The (Locke), 23 Princeton University, 128–29, 222 Prius, 221 probabilistic thinking, 116, 121–22, 129 process optimization, 48 Project Cyborg, 65 psychological tools, of entrepreneurs, 67, 115, 274 goal setting in, 74–75, 78, 79, 80, 82–83, 84, 85, 87, 89–90, 92, 93, 103–4, 112, 137, 185–87 importance of, 73 line of super-credibility and, 96, 98–99, 98, 100, 101–2, 107, 190, 203, 266, 272 passion as important in, 106–7, 113, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 134, 174, 249, 258 Peter’s Laws in, 108–14 and power of constraints, 248–49 rapid iteration and, 76, 77, 78, 79–80, 83–84, 85, 86, 120, 126, 133–34, 236 risk management and, see risk management science of motivation and, 78–80, 85, 87, 92, 103, 254, 255 in skunk methodology, 71–87, 88; see also skunk methodology staging of bold ideas and, 103–4, 107 for thinking at scale, see scale, thinking at triggering flow and, 85–94, 109 public relations managers, in crowdfunding campaigns, 193–94 purpose, 79, 85, 87, 116, 119–20 in DIY communities, see massively transformative purpose (MTP) Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, 253 Quirky, 18–20, 21, 66, 161 Rackspace, 50, 257 Rally Fighter, 224, 225 rapid iteration, 76, 77, 78, 79–80, 83–84, 85, 86, 236 feedback loops in, 77, 83, 84, 86, 87, 90–91, 92, 120 in thinking at scale, 116, 126, 133–34 rating systems, 226, 232, 236–37, 240 rationally optimistic thinking, 116, 136–37 Ravikant, Naval, 174 Raytheon, 72 re:Invent 2012, 76–77 reCAPTCHA, 154–55, 156, 157 registration, in online communities, 232 Reichental, Avi, 30–32, 35 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 4 reputation economics, 217–19, 230, 232, 236–37 Ressi, Adeo, 118 ReverbNation, 161 reward-based crowdfunding, 173, 174–80, 183, 185, 186–87, 195, 205, 207 case studies in, 174–80 designing right incentives for affiliates in, 200 early donor engagement in, 203–5 fundraising targets in, 186–87, 191 setting of incentives in, 189–91, 189 telling meaningful story in, 196–98 trend surfing in, 208 upselling in, 207, 208–9 see also crowdfunding, crowdfunding campaigns rewards, extrinsic vs. intrinsic, 78–79 Rhodin, Michael, 56 Richards, Bob, 100, 101–2, 103, 104 Ridley, Matt, 137 risk management, 76–77, 82, 83, 84, 86, 103, 109, 116, 121 Branson’s strategies for, 126–27 flow and, 87, 88, 92, 93 incentive competitions and, 247, 248–49, 261, 270 in thinking at scale, 116, 121–22, 126–27, 137 Robinson, Mark, 144 Robot Garden, 62 robotics, x, 22, 24, 35, 41, 59–62, 63, 66, 81, 135, 139 entrepreneurial opportunities in, 60, 61, 62 user interfaces in, 60–61 Robot Launchpad, 62 RocketHub, 173, 175, 184 Rogers, John “Jay,” 33, 38, 222–25, 231, 238, 240 Roomba, 60, 66 Rose, Geordie, 58 Rose, Kevin, 120 Rosedale, Philip, 144 Russian Federal Space Agency, 102 Rutan, Burt, 76, 96, 112, 127, 269 San Antonio Mix Challenge, 257–58 Sandberg, Sheryl, 217, 237 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 3 Sasson, Steven, 4–5, 5, 6, 9 satellite technology, 14, 36–37, 44, 100, 127, 275, 286n scale, thinking at, xiii, 20–21, 116, 119, 125–28, 148, 225, 228, 243, 257 Bezos’s strategies for, 128, 129, 130–33 Branson’s strategies for, 125–27 in building online communities, 232–33 customer-centric approach in, 116, 126, 128, 130, 131–32, 133 first principles in, 116, 120–21, 122, 126, 138 long-term thinking and, 116, 128, 130–31, 132–33, 138 Musk’s strategies for, 119–23, 127 Page’s strategies for, 136–38 passion and purpose in, 116, 119–20, 122, 125, 134 probabilistic thinking and, 116, 121–22, 129 rapid iteration in, 116, 126, 133–34 rationally optimistic thinking and, 116, 136–37 risk management in, 116, 121–22, 126–27, 137 Scaled Composites, 262 Schawinski, Kevin, 219–21 Schmidt, Eric, 99, 128, 251 Schmidt, Wendy, 251, 253 Schmidt Family Foundation, 251 science of motivation, 78–80, 85, 87, 92, 103 incentive competitions and, 148, 254, 255, 262–63 Screw It, Let’s Do It (Branson), 125 Scriptlance, 149 Sealed Air Corporation, 30–31 Second Life, 144 SecondMarket, 174 “secrets of skunk,” see skunk methodology Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), US, 172 security-related sensors, 43 sensors, see networks and sensors Shapeways.com, 38 Shingles, Marcus, 159, 245, 274–75 Shirky, Clay, 215 ShotSpotter, 43 Simply Music, 258 Singh, Narinder, 228 Singularity University (SU), xi, xii, xiv, 15, 35, 37, 53, 61, 73, 81, 85, 136, 169, 278, 279 Six Ds of Exponentials, 7–15, 8, 17, 20, 25 deception phase in, 8, 9, 10, 24, 25–26, 29, 30, 31, 41, 59, 60 dematerialization in, 8, 10, 11–13, 14, 15, 20–21, 66 democratization in, 8, 10, 13–15, 21, 33, 51–52, 59, 64–65, 276 demonetization in, 8, 10–11, 14, 15, 52, 64–65, 138, 163, 167, 223 digitalization in, 8–9, 10 disruption phase in, 8, 9–10, 20, 24, 25, 29, 32, 33–35, 37, 38, 39, 256; see also disruption, exponential Skonk Works, 71, 72 skunk methodology, 71–87, 88 goal setting in, 74–75, 78, 79, 80, 82–83, 84, 85, 87, 103 Google’s use of, 81–84 isolation in, 72, 76, 78, 79, 81–82, 257 “Kelly’s rules” in, 74, 75–76, 77, 81, 84, 247 rapid iteration approach in, 76, 77, 78, 79–80, 83–84, 85, 86 risk management in, 76–77, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87, 88 science of motivation and, 78–80, 85, 87, 92 triggering flow with, 86, 87 Skunk Works, 72, 75 Skybox, 286n Skype, 11, 13, 167 Sloan Digital Sky Survey, 219–20 Small Business Association, US, 169 smartphones, x, 7, 12, 14, 15, 42, 135, 283n apps for, 13, 13, 15, 16, 28, 47, 176 information gathering with, 47 SmartThings, 48 smartwatches, 176–77, 178, 191, 208 software development, 77, 144, 158, 159, 161, 236 in exponential communities, 225–28 SolarCity, 111, 117, 119, 120, 122 Space Adventures Limited, 96, 291n space exploration, 81, 96, 97–100, 115, 118, 119, 122, 123, 134, 139, 230, 244 asteroid mining in, 95–96, 97–99, 107, 109, 179, 221, 276 classifying of galaxies and, 219–21, 228 commercial tourism projects in, 96–97, 109, 115, 119, 125, 127, 244, 246, 261, 268 crowdfunding campaigns for, see ARKYD Space Telescope campaign incentive competitions in, 76, 96, 109, 112, 115, 127, 134, 139, 246, 248–49, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269 International Space University and, 96, 100–104, 107–8 Mars missions in, 99, 118–19, 128 see also aerospace industry Space Fair, 291n “space selfie,” 180, 189–90, 196, 208 SpaceShipOne, 96, 97, 127, 269 SpaceShipTwo, 96–97 SpaceX, 34, 111, 117, 119, 122, 123 Speed Stick, 152, 154 Spiner, Brent, 180, 200, 207 Spirit of St.

 

pages: 274 words: 93,758

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, new economy, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, wage slave

Or, in another example, insurance companies play on desires for immortality by advertising that, curiously, portrayed the deceased father in after-death family pictures.21 Social psychologist / marketer Robert Cialdini has written a book full of impressive evidence of psychological biases.22 According to his “list,” we are phishable because we want to reciprocate gifts and favors; because we want to be nice to people we like; because we do not want to disobey authority; because we tend to follow others in deciding how to behave; because we want our decisions to be internally consistent; and because we are averse to taking losses.23 Following Cialdini, each of these respective biases is paired with common salesman’s tricks. One such example concerns how his brother, Richard, paid his way through college. Every week, Richard would purchase two or three cars from the advertisements in the local newspapers. He would clean them up and offer them for sale again. Here, Richard put “loss aversion” to work. Richard did not, as most of us would do, schedule his prospective buyers to come at different times. Instead, intentionally, he scheduled them with overlap. Each buyer, whatever the merits of the prospective car, was then apprehensive that he might lose out: that other guy might get his car.24 Information Phools A great deal of phishing comes from another source: from supplying us with misleading, or erroneous, information.

Vance Packard, The Hidden Persuaders: What Makes Us Buy, Believe— and Even Vote—the Way We Do (Brooklyn: Ig Publishing, 2007; original ed., New York: McKay, 1957), pp. 90–91 (cake mixes); p. 94 (insurance). 22. Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (New York: HarperCollins, 2007). 23. These correspond to Cialdini’s categories of “reciprocation,” “liking,” “authority: directed deference,” “social proof,” “commitment and consistency,” and “scarcity.” We have referred to “scarcity” as “loss aversion” since Cialdini emphasizes (ibid., p. 204) that “the way to love anything is to realize it might be lost [sic].” Behavioral economists would, we think, have a slightly different classification. 24. Ibid., pp. 229–30. 25. London School of Economics economist Eric Eyster told George that he witnessed this magic trick used in a con game on the Chicago subway. The tricksters boarded his subway car, set the cups up on the floor, and did their swirl, inviting passengers to guess where the coin would end up.

In the case of Vance Packard, the cake-baking housewives are embedding themselves in a story in which they are creative; the insurance-purchasing men are embedding themselves in a story in which they are literally “in the pic210 Akerlof.indb 210 NOTES 6/19/15 10:24 AM ture.” It is useful to look at Cialdini’s list of behaviors, since they encompass most of the psychological biases that have formed the basis for behavioral economics. According to Cialdini, the purchasers of his brother Richard’s cars are embedding themselves in a story in which they are thinking of the possibility that they will “lose” the car (they are what Kahneman has called loss averse); what we here call stories, he calls “mental frames.” For the other five items on Cialdini’s list we can again view people as making their decisions from the point of view of a “story.” People want to reciprocate gifts and favors: to do so they must be taking part in a story in which someone gives a gift, and it would be wrong not to reciprocate. People want to be liked: to do so they must be taking part in a story in which they are liked, or not liked, by someone else.

 

pages: 302 words: 83,116

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

In that case, you’d expect them to prefer it when a researcher initially offered them two grapes instead of one. But precisely the opposite happened! Once the monkeys figured out that the two-grape researcher sometimes withheld the second grape and that the one-grape researcher sometimes added a bonus grape, the monkeys strongly preferred the one-grape researcher. A rational monkey wouldn’t have cared, but these irrational monkeys suffered from what psychologists call “loss aversion.” They behaved as if the pain from losing a grape was greater than the pleasure from gaining one. Up to now, the monkeys appeared to be as rational as humans in their use of money. But surely this last experiment showed the vast gulf that lay between monkey and man. Or did it? The fact is that similar experiments with human beings—day traders, for instance—had found that people make the same kind of irrational decisions at a nearly identical rate.

Keith Chen and Laurie Santos, “The Evolution of Rational and Irrational Economic Behavior: Evidence and Insight from a Non-Human Primate Species,” chapter from Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the Brain, ed. Paul Glimcher, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, and Russell Poldrack (Academic Press, Elsevier, 2009). / 212 “Nobody ever saw a dog”: see Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannon (University of Chicago Press, 1976; originally published in 1776). / 214 Day traders are also loss-averse: see Terrance Odean, “Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?” Journal of Finance 53, no. 5 (October 1998). SEARCHABLE TERMS Note: Entries in this index, carried over verbatim from the print edition of this title, are unlikely to correspond to the pagination of any given e-book reader. However, entries in this index, and other terms, may be easily located by using the search feature of your e-book reader.

See Genovese, Kitty, murder of Krueger, Alan, 62, 63–64 Kyoto Protocol, 115 laboratory experiments artificiality of, 123 and crash-test data, 153–55 games as, 108–11 See also specific researcher or experiment Lake Toba (Sumatra), volcanic eruption at, 189 Lakshminarayanan, Venkat, 212 LaSheena (prostitute), 19–20, 26, 27, 30, 54 Latham, John, 201, 202 Latham, Mike, 201 law of unintended consequences, 138–41 Leave It to Beaver (TV program), 102 LeMay, Curtis, 147 Lenin, Vladimir, 63 leverage, 193 Levitt, Steven D., 17 life expectancy, 20 life insurance, 94, 200 life span, extending the, 82–87 List, John, 113–20, 121, 123, 125 locavore movement, 166 LoJack (anti-theft device), 173–75 London, England, terrorism in, 92 loss aversion, 214 Lovelock, James, 166, 170, 177 Lowell, Mike, 92 macroeconomics, 16–17, 211 Madison, Wisconsin, home-sales data in, 39 Maintenance of Parents Act, Singapore, 106 Major League Baseball, birthdays among players of, 61, 62 malaria, experiment about, 177, 180, 181 manipulation, and altruism, 125 March of Dimes, 145 marijuana, 66 Martinelli, César, 27–28 Masters, Will, 142 Matthews, H.

 

pages: 168 words: 50,647

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-To-5 by Taylor Pearson

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Airbnb, barriers to entry, Black Swan, call centre, cloud computing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Google Hangouts, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, means of production, Oculus Rift, passive income, passive investing, Peter Thiel, remote working, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, software is eating the world, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, Thomas Malthus, Uber and Lyft, unpaid internship, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog

Your status was lowered in the tribe for the rest of your life; you might never find a mate, reproduce, and pass on your genes. This principle is called loss aversion: when directly compared to each other, losses loom larger than gains. Consider: You are offered a gamble on the toss of a coin. Heads, you win $150. Tails, you lose $100. How do you feel about it? Although the expected value is obviously positive (if you repeated the bet 100 times, you’d almost certainly come out on top), most people decline the bet. When asked: “What is the smallest gain that you need to balance an equal chance to lose $100?” most people answer $200—twice as much as the loss.28 The ratio of loss aversion has been measured at between 1.5 and 2.5, meaning people typically want to see a 150–250% expected return to make the bet. This, again, is a mentality from our evolutionary past.

 

pages: 202 words: 62,199

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, minimum viable product, North Sea oil, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs

Before the words “That sounds great, I’d love to” fly out of your mouth, ask yourself, “Is this essential?” If you’ve already made a casual commitment you’re regretting, find a nice way to worm your way out. Simply apologize and tell the person that when you made the commitment you didn’t fully realize what it would entail. GET OVER THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT We’ve seen ample evidence in this chapter suggesting that the majority of us are naturally very loss-averse. As a result, one of the obstacles to uncommitting ourselves from a present course is the fear of missing out on something great. TO FIGHT THIS FEAR, RUN A REVERSE PILOT One of the ideas that has grown popular in business circles in recent years is “prototyping.” Building a prototype, or large-scale model, allows companies to test-run an idea or product without making a huge investment up front.

“Ministers Knew Aircraft Would Not Make Money,” Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ministers-knew-aircraft-would-not-make-money-concorde-thirty-years-ago-harold-macmillan-sacked-a-third-of-his-cabinet-concorde-was-approved-the-cuba-crisis-shook-the-world-and-ministers-considered-pit-closures-anthony-bevins-and-nicholas-timmins-review-highlights-from-1962-government-files-made-public-yesterday-1476025.html 3. Gillman, “Supersonic Bust.” 4. Michael Rosenfield, “NH Man Loses Life Savings on Carnival Game,” CBS Boston, April 29, 2013, http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/29/nh-man-loses-life-savings-on-carnival-game/. 5. Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspective 5, no. 1 (1991): 193–206, http://users.tricity.wsu.edu/~achaudh/kahnemanetal.pdf. 6. Tom Stafford, “Why We Love to Hoard … and How You Can Overcome It,” BBC News, July 17, 2012, www.bbc.com/future/story/20120717-why-we-love-to-hoard. 7. I originally wrote this in a blog post for Harvard Business Review called “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” August 8, 2012, http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/08/the-disciplined-pursuit-of-less/. 8.

 

pages: 322 words: 77,341

I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, greed is good, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Martin Wolf, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, reserve currency, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Great Moderation, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, value at risk

I have a confession to make about Kahneman and Tversky. I’d never heard of them until Kahneman won the Nobel,* and when I first read about their work, it seemed to me to consist of things which were surprising only to economists. One of their interests was “hindsight bias,” the way in which a random sequence of events is given structure and narrative by the false perspective of looking back over it from its outcome. Another was “loss aversion,” the fact that people place a higher value on not losing money than on gaining it; another was on “the law of small numbers,” referring to people’s tendency to draw overconfident conclusions from small amounts of evidence. Their particular interest was in “heuristics,” the patterns of thinking people use to interpret data, and the strong conclusion they reached was that people’s heuristics are often wrong; we are much less accurate and less rational in our thinking than we believe ourselves to be.

., 115–17, 157–58 liabilities, 31–35 in balance sheets, 25–28, 31–34, 37 of banks, 25, 32–35, 37, 41, 204 of individuals, 27–28, 35 leverage and, 35, 41, 60 libel law, 93 life expectancies, 17, 213 liquidity, 212 housing and, 28–29, 90, 96–97 investments and, 60–61 Lloyds TSB, 36, 38–40 loans, lending, 74–76, 108–9 in balance sheets, 27, 30, 34 of banks, 22, 24, 27, 33–36, 41–42, 58–60, 67, 69–70, 74, 83–84, 91–94, 102, 117, 127, 129–30, 143, 146, 165, 187, 216–17, 229 credit and, 209, 216–17 derivatives and, 50–51, 55, 66–75, 80, 121–22 Exxon deal and, 67–68 interest rates and, 59–60, 66, 74, 102, 108, 145, 172–73 paying the bill and, 220–21 predatory, 122, 127–32 risk and, 66–67, 69–72, 74–75, 80, 95, 117, 145, 174 securitization in, 69, 74 see also mortgages London, 53, 84 housing in, 88–90 see also City of London Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM): collapse of, 142, 162, 164–65, 230–31 derivatives and, 54–56, 80 loss aversion, 137 Lovelock, James, 231 Lowenstein, Roger, 161 Macmillan, Harold, 216 Madoff, Bernard, 105, 171, 191–92, 195 Mailer, Norman, 172 Manias, Panics, and Crashes (Kindleberger), 104 manufacturing, 4, 13, 58, 109, 229 and financial vs. industrial interests, 197, 199 Marxist analysis of, 15–16 stocks and, 148–49 market discipline, 183–84 Markopolos, Harry, 192 Markowitz, Harry, 147–49, 158 mark to market, 42, 105–6 Marx, Karl, 15–16 Maryland, housing in, 125–31 Masters, Blythe, 68, 121 mathematics, 5, 231 derivatives and, 47–48, 52–54, 115–17, 166 risk and, 46, 55–56, 74, 133, 136, 146–50, 154, 158, 160–67, 202 of share pricing, 147–48 Meriwether, John, 54 Merrill Lynch, 39, 77, 120, 190, 227 Merton, Robert, 54–55 microeconomics, 137 Minsky, Hyman, 104 Monetary Policy Committee, 178–79 money: assumptions based on primacy of, 202–4 cost of, 102–3 flows of, 7–9, 26 inconceivable amounts of, 8 Money Machine, The (Coggan), 25 Moody’s Investors Service, 62, 70, 114, 119, 208, 210 Morgan, John Pierpont, 20, 64 Morgan Stanley, 40, 64, 227 Morris, Charles, 42 mortgages, 38–40, 83–87, 89–95, 97–102, 110–32 in balance sheets, 27–28 balloon payments on, 100 and buy-to-let properties, 177 conforming, 112, 124 credit ratings and, 123–24, 126 of Cutter family, 126–27 defaults on, 159–60, 163, 165, 229 derivatives and, 38, 57–58, 75–76, 112–22, 132, 157–60, 172, 210–12 discriminatory practices and, 99–101, 127 durations of, 95 endowment, 86–87, 89–90, 146 Iceland’s economic crisis and, 10–11 interest and, 8, 58, 86, 89, 91–92, 95, 100, 102, 108, 110, 112–14, 122, 128, 145–46, 174, 176, 212 “liar,” 126, 132 “no doc,” 132 No Income, No Job or Assets (NINJA), 126 piggyback, 132 predatory lending and, 122, 127–32 regulation and, 99–100, 185 risk and, 145, 158–60, 163–65 sizes of, 92–94 subprime, 38, 75, 83, 100, 113–19, 122–25, 127, 132, 157–59, 165, 202, 210 see also houses, housing, home ownership Nasdaq, 104 nationalization, 24, 39–40, 228–30 New York Times, The, 77, 98, 208 “Night in Tunisia, A,” 45 Nikkei 225, 51–52, 54 9/11 terrorist attacks, 2, 107 Northern Rock, 5, 39, 94, 194, 206 Obama, Barack, 77, 205 regulation and, 188, 190, 223–24 Objectivism, 142–43, 173 oil, 3–4, 107–8, 148–49 “On Default Correlation” (Li), 116 options, 50–52, 151, 174, 184 how they work, 46–47, 50–51 Osaka exchange, 54 Pacioli, Luca, 26 panic of 1893, 64 panic of 1907, 20, 64 Parker, Charlie, 45 Paulos, John Allen, 8 pensions, 76–77, 165, 204 in balance sheets, 27–28, 31 Phillips, Julia, 199 politics, politicians, 5–6, 19–21, 23–25, 81, 118–19, 169–70, 176–78, 217–26, 228–32 AIG bailout and, 76–78 banks and, 25, 33, 43, 182, 186, 195, 202, 207, 211, 217, 228–31 bonds and, 29–30, 61–62, 103, 109, 118, 144, 176–77, 208–9 derivatives and, 57, 183–86 financial industry’s ascent and, 19–20 free-market capitalism and, 14–15, 19, 21, 23–24 housing and, 87–89, 91, 96–101, 177–78 Iceland’s economic crisis and, 9–10, 12, 24, 223 interest rates and, 102–3, 107–8, 172–80, 221 paying the bill and, 219–23 regulation and, 15, 19–21, 24, 169, 180–92, 195, 199, 201, 223–26 risk and, 142–43, 164–66, 174, 184 Ponzi, Charles, 105 Ponzi schemes, 191–92 poor, poverty, 3–4, 13, 21, 82, 179, 196 housing and, 100, 113, 118, 121–23, 126–27, 130–31, 163 pork bellies, 48–49 portfolio insurance, 151–52, 162 “Portfolio Selection” (Markowitz), 147 Posner, Richard A., 120, 174, 182, 193 Powell, Anthony, 62 price, prices, 105–11, 203 and banking-and-credit crisis, 216–18, 220 bonds and, 61, 63, 102–3, 108–10, 144 derivatives and, 38, 46–52, 54, 56, 75, 158–59, 166 of houses, 5, 28–29, 37–38, 61, 71, 86–91, 101, 109–11, 113, 115, 125, 157, 160, 164–66, 173–76, 194, 208 of oil, 3–4, 107–8, 148–49 risk and, 145–50, 158–59, 164–66 of stocks, 102, 105–6, 109–10, 147–51, 158, 174 of toxic assets, 37–38, 42 volatility of, 47–48, 148–50 “Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities, The” (Black and Scholes), 45, 47–48, 147 probabilities, 46, 55, 74, 115, 141, 145, 153–55, 160–63 profits, 20, 28, 104–6, 110, 192, 226–28, 230 banks and, 33, 35, 67, 78, 227–28 and benefits of debt, 59–60 derivatives and, 50, 54, 57, 63, 65, 106, 114, 121–22 Enron and, 105–6 regulation and, 204, 226 risk and, 150, 226 Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act, 131 “Quiet Coup, The” (Johnson), 19–20, 185–86 Ragtime (Doctorow), 64 Rand, Ayn, 142–43, 173 Reagan, Ronald, 14, 19–20, 24, 142, 185 recessions, 42, 89, 94, 142, 171, 175, 219 regulation, deregulation, 15, 19–22, 24, 169, 180–202 banking and, 21, 33, 180–91, 194–96, 199–200, 202, 204–5, 208, 211, 223–27 bond ratings and, 208–9 derivatives and, 68, 70, 73, 153, 183–86, 200–201 framework and regime of, 189–92 market discipline and, 183–84 mortgages and, 99–100, 185 proposals for, 223–26 risk and, 143, 153, 164, 187–88, 191, 195, 202, 204–5, 212, 224, 226 in U.K., 21–22, 105n, 180–82, 194–96, 199–201, 218 in U.S., 181, 184–92, 195, 199–200, 223–24, 227 Reykjavík, 10, 12, 170 risk, risks, 49–58, 66–76, 133–36, 141–67, 211–12, 219 AIG and, 75–76 assessment of, 46, 55–56, 74, 133, 135–36, 141–43, 145–67, 187–88, 191, 202, 205, 212, 216, 226 banks and, 19, 34–37, 41, 133, 135–36, 143, 150–54, 156–57, 160, 165–66, 174, 187–88, 191–95, 202, 204–7, 216, 224, 226, 228, 230 bonds and, 61–63, 103, 118, 144, 154, 208 derivatives and, 46–47, 49–52, 54–55, 57–58, 66–75, 78–80, 114–15, 117–22, 151, 153, 158–60, 163, 166–67, 184–85, 205, 212 desirability of, 144, 146, 150, 206–7 diversification and, 146–48 Greenspan and, 142–43, 164–66, 174, 184 hedging of, 49–50, 52, 58, 115, 205 historical data and, 163, 166 housing and, 88, 94–97, 112–13, 125, 129, 145, 158–60, 163–65 investing and, 5, 68, 70, 88, 103, 144, 146–53, 158, 165, 184, 190 leverage and, 35–36 LTCM and, 55–56 overconcentration of, 72–73 regulation and, 143, 153, 164, 187–88, 191, 195, 202, 204–5, 212, 224, 226 securitization and, 69–70, 163, 165 of stairs, 134–35 VAR and, 151–57, 162–63 risk-adjusted return on capital (RAROC), 150–51 Ritholtz, Barry, 219–20 Robinson, Phillip, 128–31 Rogers, Jim, 221 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), 34–36, 120, 227 bailout of, 32, 40, 204 Russia, 3, 15–16, 18, 53 bond default of, 55–56, 162, 164–65 Salomon Brothers, 63 Sanford, Charles, 150 Santander, 40 savings, 28, 86, 107, 177, 179, 187 savings and loan crisis, 73, 185, 220 Scholes, Myron, 45, 47–48, 54–55, 147 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 195 credit ratings and, 209–10 regulation and, 153, 186, 189–92 securitization, 20, 22, 200 derivatives and, 69–70, 74, 113–14, 117–19, 122, 212 risk and, 69–70, 125, 163, 165, 212, 224 selling, sales, 34, 42, 104, 174, 203 of bonds, 59, 61–63, 144 derivatives and, 46–50, 52, 56, 65, 67–68, 73–74, 120 of equity, 58–59 of houses, 28–29, 71, 89–90 risk and, 151–52, 165, 224 Shiller, Robert, 106, 145n, 194 Simon, David, 83–84 Singapore exchange, 54 Skilling, Jeffrey, 106 small numbers, law of, 137 Sociét Générale, 51, 77 solvency, insolvency, 28–29 of banks, 36–38, 40–43, 64, 74–75, 120 Spain, 15, 40, 177, 214 contracting economy of, 222–23 housing in, 92, 110 special purpose vehicles (SPVs), 70, 120 stairs, deaths caused by, 134–35 Standard & Poor’s (S&P), 62, 114, 151, 209 statistics, 160–62 Stefánsdóttir, Rakel, 9–10, 12 stock market, stocks, 22, 54–55, 61, 76, 80, 101–11, 115, 226 bubbles and implosions in, 3, 42, 103–9, 142, 175–76 derivatives and, 50–52, 54 investing in, 59, 73, 101–7, 111, 146–52, 158, 175, 192 new-economy, 103 1929 crash of, 152, 199, 213 October 1987 crash of, 142, 151–52, 161–62, 164–65 prices of, 102, 105–6, 109–10, 147–51, 158, 174 structured investment vehicles (SIVs), 120 Summa de Arithmetica (Pacioli), 26 Summers, Lawrence, 43, 74, 188 Taleb, Nassim, 53, 155–56 Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA), 100 technology, 42, 104, 149, 155, 166 terrorism, 2, 12, 18, 107 Tett, Gillian, 121, 193 Thatcher, Margaret, 199, 217, 222 free-market capitalism and, 14, 21, 24 on housing, 87, 91, 98 regulation and, 21, 195–96 torture, end of ban on, 18 tranching, 117–18, 122 Treasury, British, 181–82 Treasury, U.S., 43, 54, 64, 74, 76–78 AIG bailout and, 76, 78 regulation and, 188–90 Treasury bills (T-bills), 29–30, 62, 103, 118, 144, 208 China’s investment in, 109, 176–77 Trichet, Jean-Claude, 92 Trillion Dollar Meltdown, The (Morris), 42 Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), 37, 189 Turner, Adair, 181 Tversky, Amos, 136–38, 141 UBS, 36, 120 uncertainty, 96 fair value theory and, 147–48 risk and, 55–56, 153, 163 United Kingdom, 9, 11–12, 18, 28–29, 61, 122–24, 134, 139, 194–202, 216–18 banking in, 5, 11, 32–36, 38–40, 51–54, 76–77, 89, 94, 120, 146, 180, 194–96, 199, 202, 204–6, 211–12, 217, 227–28 bill of, 220–22, 224 and City of London, 21–22, 32, 195–97, 200, 217–18 credit ratings and, 123–24, 209 derivatives and, 72, 200–201 financial vs. industrial interests in, 196–99 free-market capitalism in, 14–15, 21, 230 GDP of, 32, 214, 220 Goodwin’s pension and, 76–77 housing in, 38, 87–98, 110, 122, 177–78 interest rates in, 102, 177–80 personal debt in, 221–22 prosperity of, 214, 216 regulation in, 21–22, 105n, 180–82, 194–96, 199–201, 218 United Nations, 4 United States, 17–22, 34, 62–71, 120–31, 134n, 165, 199–201 AIG bailout and, 76–78 banks of, 36–37, 39–40, 43, 63–71, 73, 75, 77–78, 84, 116, 120–21, 127, 150, 152, 163, 183, 185, 190, 195, 204, 211–12, 219–20, 225, 227–28 bill of, 219–20 China’s investment in, 109, 176–77 credit and, 109, 123–24, 195, 208–9, 211 free-market capitalism in, 14–15, 230 housing in, 37, 82–86, 95, 97–101, 109–10, 114–15, 122, 125–31, 157–58, 163 interest rates in, 102, 107–8, 173–77 regulation in, 181, 184–92, 195, 199–200, 223–24, 227 urban desolation in, 81–86 value, values, 42, 74–75, 78–80, 103–4, 179, 181, 217–18, 220, 227 bonds and, 61, 103 derivatives and, 38, 48–49, 185, 201 housing and, 28–29, 71, 90, 92–95, 111, 176 investing and, 60–61, 104, 198 LTCM and, 55–56 notional, 38, 48–49, 80 value at risk (VAR), 151–57, 162–63 Vietnam War, 18, 220 Viniar, David, 163 volatility, 20, 158 risk and, 47–48, 148–50, 161 Volcker, Paul, 20 Waldrow, Mary, 127 Wall Street, 22, 53, 64, 129, 188 Washington Post, The, 18 wealth, 4, 10, 19–21, 64, 204, 206 financial industry’s ascent and, 20–21 in free-market capitalism, 15, 19, 230 housing and, 87, 90, 121 Keynes’s predictions on, 214–15 in West, 218–19 Weatherstone, Dennis, 152 Wells Fargo, 84, 127 Wessex Water, 105n West, 14–18, 43, 213, 231 conflict between Communist bloc and, 16–18 free-market capitalism in, 14–15, 17, 21, 23 wealth in, 218–19 wheat, 49n, 52 When Genius Failed (Lowenstein), 161 Williams, John Burr, 147 Wilson, Lashawn, 130–31 Wire, The, 83–84 World Bank, 58, 65, 69 * GDP, which will be mentioned quite a few times in this story, sounds complicated but isn’t: it’s nothing more than the value of all the goods and services produced in an economy.

 

pages: 295 words: 66,824

A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market by John Allen Paulos

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Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, business climate, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elliott wave, endowment effect, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, four colour theorem, George Gilder, global village, greed is good, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, mental accounting, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, Ralph Nelson Elliott, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, six sigma, Stephen Hawking, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

The WorldCom chatrooms went into one of their typical frenzies and the price dropped further. My reaction, painful to recall, was, “At these prices I can finally get out of the hole.” I bought more shares even though I knew better. There was apparently a loose connection between my brain and my fingers, which kept clicking the buy button on my Schwab online account in an effort to avoid the losses that loomed. Outside of business, loss aversion plays a role as well. It’s something of a truism that the attempt to cover up a scandal often leads to a much worse scandal. Although most people know this, attempts to cover up are still common, presumably because, here too, people are much more willing to take risks to avoid losses than they are to obtain gains. Another chink in our cognitive apparatus is Richard Thaler’s notion of “mental accounts,” mentioned in the last chapter.

Petersburg paradox ultimatum games WorldCom board game Gans, Herbert Gates, Bill geometric mean illustrated by IPO purchases/sales rate of return “ghosts,” investors Gilder, George Gilovich, Thomas Godel, Kurt Goethe golden ratio Goodman, Nelson gossip Gould, Steven Jay Graham, Benjamin Greek mathematics Greenspan, Alan impact on stock and bond markets on irrational exuberance of investors growth investing vs. value investing growth stocks Grubman, Jack guessing games guilt and despair over market losses Hart, Sergiu “head and shoulders” pattern hedge funds herd-like nature, of stock market Hill, Ted How Nature Works (Bak) How We Know What Isn’t So (Gilovich) “The Imp in the Bottle” (Stevenson) In Search of Excellence (Peters) incompleteness theorem of mathematical logic index funds Efficient market theorists investing in as safe investment inflationary universe hypothesis Innumeracy (Paulos) insider trading attraction of stock manipulation by unexplained price movements and Institutional Investor insurance company example, expected value insurance put options interest rates, market predictability and internal rate of return Internet diameter (or interconnectedness) of “flocking effect,” as network of associations investment clubs investment strategies. see also predictability, of stock market based on Parrondo’s paradox contrarian investing dogs of the Dow fundamental analysis. see fundamental analysis momentum investing secrecy and value investing. see value investing investments. see also margin investments confirmation bias and considering utility of dollars invested vs. dollars themselves counter-intuitive emotions dictating guilt and despair over losses ignoring uniformity of positive ratings protective measures randomness vs. predictability and rumors and safe windfall money and investors. see also traders behavior as nonlinear systems beliefs of impact Efficient Market Hypothesis “blow up” and becoming “ghosts,” buying/selling puts on S&P common knowledge and gauging investors as important as gauging investments irrational exuberance/irrational despair online trading and price oscillation created by investor reactions to each other self description in bear and bull markets short-term IPOs alternative rates of return from as a pyramid scheme Salomon Smith Barney benefitting illegally from stock market in 1990s and strategy for buying and selling Jegadeesh, Narsimhan Jeong, Hawoong Judgment Under Uncertainty (Tversky, Kahneman, and Slovic) Kahneman, Daniel Keynes, John Maynard Kolmogorov, A. N. Kozlowski, Dennis Kraus, Karl Krauthammer, Charles Kudlow, Larry Lakonishok, Josef Landsburg, Steven Lay, Ken LeBaron, Blake Lefevre, Edwin Leibweber, David linguistics, power law and Lo, Andrew logistic curve lognormal distribution Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) losing through winning loss aversion lotteries present value and as tax on stupidity Lynch, Peter MacKinlay, Craig mad money Malkiel, Burton management, manipulating stock prices Mandelbrot, Benoit margin calls margin investments buying on the margin as investment type margin calls selling on the margin market makers decimalization and World Class Options Market Maker (WCOMM) Markowitz, Harry mathematics, generally Greek movies and plays about outguessing the average guess risk and stock markets and Mathews, Eddie “maximization of expected value” principle mean value. see also expected value arithmetic mean deviation from the mean geometric mean regression to the mean using interchangeably with expected value media celebrities and crisis mentality and impact on market volatility median rate of return Merrill Lynch Merton, Robert mnemonic rules momentum investing money, categorizing into mental accounts Morgenson, Gretchen Motley Fool contrarian investment strategy PEG ratio and moving averages complications with evidence supporting example of generating buy-sell rules from getting the big picture with irrelevant in efficient market phlegmatic nature of mu (m) multifractal forgeries mutual funds expert picks and hedge funds index funds politically incorrect rationale for socially regressive funds mutual knowledge, contrasted with common knowledge Nash equilibrium Nash, John Neff, John negatively correlated stocks as basis of mutual fund selection as basis of stock selection stock portfolios and networks Internet as example of price movements and six degrees of separation and A New Kind of Science (Wolfram) Newcomb, Simon Newcombe, William Newcombe’s paradox Niederhoffer, Victor Nigrini, Mark nominal value A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street (Lo and MacKinlay) nonlinear systems billiards example “butterfly effect” or sensitive dependence of chaos theory and fractals and investor behavior and normal distribution Nozick, Robert numbers anchoring effect Benford’s Law and Fibonacci numbers and off-shore entities, Enron Once Upon a Number (Paulos) online chatrooms online trading optimal portfolio balancing with risk-free portfolio Markowitz efficient frontier of options. see stock options Ormerod, Paul O’Shaughnessy, James P/B (price-to-book) ratio P/E ratio interpreting measuring future earnings expectations PEG variation on stock valuation and P/S (price to sales) ratio paradoxes Efficient Market Hypothesis and examples of Newcombe’s paradox Parrondo’s paradox St.

 

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Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street by Aaron Brown, Eric Kim

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Asian financial crisis, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, financial innovation, illegal immigration, implied volatility, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market clearing, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, natural language processing, open economy, pre–internet, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, special drawing rights, statistical arbitrage, stochastic volatility, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve

The effect has been demonstrated in many controlled and real-world settings, with both humans and animals, including birds and insects. There is no doubt that it is both real and important. Among other things, it explains part of loss aversion. Losing something you have is more painful than getting something equivalent is pleasurable. This is not inconsistent with utility theory, but it requires that individuals’ utility function change as they acquire or lose goods. The simple version of utility theory that says all risk is bad cannot accommodate that, but sophisticated modern utility theory has no difficulty. Why would evolution allow animals—including humans—to hold inconsistent values? The weight of the evidence is that loss aversion evolved to reduce intraspecies fighting and to allow investment. Animal behaviorists have identified many examples of competition among individuals in the same species for resources: territory, nests, pools of water, even shafts of sunlight breaking through trees.

(Livio) Jackknife, the Bootstrap, and Other Resampling Plans, The (Efron) Jackpot Nation (Hoffer) Jessup, Richard John Bogle on Investing (Bogle) Johnson, Barry Johnson, Simon JPMorgan Junk bonds Kahneman, Daniel Kamensky, Jane Kaplan, Michael Kassouf, Sheen Kelly, John Kelly bets/levels of risk Kelly principles/investors Keynes, John Maynard Key performance indicators (KPIs) Key risk indicators (KRIs) King of a Small World (Bennet) Korajczyk, Robert Knetsch, Jack Knight, Frank Kraitchik, Maurice Krüger, Lorenz Laplace, Pierre-Simon Lehman Brothers Leitzes, Adam Lepercq de Neuflize Leverage Levine, David Levinson, Horace Lewis, Michael Limits of Safety, The (Sagan) Liquidity Livio, Mario Logic of Failure, The (Dorner) Long-Run Collaboration on Games with Long-Run Patient Players, A (Fudenberg and Levine) Loss aversion Lowenstein, Roger Mackay, Charles Madoff, Bernie Mallaby, Sebastian Man with the Golden Arm, The (Bennet) Managed futures Managing risk Mandelbrot, Benoit Market: “beating” the efficiency (see also Efficient markets theory) equilibrium (see Equilibrium) portfolio prices return sympathy Mark-to-market accounting Markowitz, Harry.

 

pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

(Of course, paying a self-imposed cost would be worthwhile only if the prize is especially valuable to him, or if he had reason to believe that he could prevail over his opponent if the contest escalated.) In the case of a war of attrition, one can imagine a leader who has a changing willingness to suffer a cost over time, increasing as the conflict proceeds and his resolve toughens. His motto would be: “We fight on so that our boys shall not have died in vain.” This mindset, known as loss aversion, the sunk-cost fallacy, and throwing good money after bad, is patently irrational, but it is surprisingly pervasive in human decision-making.65 People stay in an abusive marriage because of the years they have already put into it, or sit through a bad movie because they have already paid for the ticket, or try to reverse a gambling loss by doubling their next bet, or pour money into a boondoggle because they’ve already poured so much money into it.

This mindset, known as loss aversion, the sunk-cost fallacy, and throwing good money after bad, is patently irrational, but it is surprisingly pervasive in human decision-making.65 People stay in an abusive marriage because of the years they have already put into it, or sit through a bad movie because they have already paid for the ticket, or try to reverse a gambling loss by doubling their next bet, or pour money into a boondoggle because they’ve already poured so much money into it. Though psychologists don’t fully understand why people are suckers for sunk costs, a common explanation is that it signals a public commitment. The person is announcing: “When I make a decision, I’m not so weak, stupid, or indecisive that I can be easily talked out of it.” In a contest of resolve like an attrition game, loss aversion could serve as a costly and hence credible signal that the contestant is not about to concede, preempting his opponent’s strategy of outlasting him just one more round. I already mentioned some evidence from Richardson’s dataset which suggests that combatants do fight longer when a war is more lethal: small wars show a higher probability of coming to an end with each succeeding year than do large wars.66 The magnitude numbers in the Correlates of War Dataset also show signs of escalating commitment: wars that are longer in duration are not just costlier in fatalities; they are costlier than one would expect from their durations alone.67 If we pop back from the statistics of war to the conduct of actual wars, we can see the mechanism at work.

I already mentioned some evidence from Richardson’s dataset which suggests that combatants do fight longer when a war is more lethal: small wars show a higher probability of coming to an end with each succeeding year than do large wars.66 The magnitude numbers in the Correlates of War Dataset also show signs of escalating commitment: wars that are longer in duration are not just costlier in fatalities; they are costlier than one would expect from their durations alone.67 If we pop back from the statistics of war to the conduct of actual wars, we can see the mechanism at work. Many of the bloodiest wars in history owe their destructiveness to leaders on one or both sides pursuing a blatantly irrational loss-aversion strategy. Hitler fought the last months of World War II with a maniacal fury well past the point when defeat was all but certain, as did Japan. Lyndon Johnson’s repeated escalations of the Vietnam War inspired a protest song that has served as a summary of people’s understanding of that destructive war: “We were waist-deep in the Big Muddy; The big fool said to push on.” The systems biologist Jean-Baptiste Michel has pointed out to me how escalating commitments in a war of attrition could produce a power-law distribution.

 

pages: 353 words: 98,267

The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter

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Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, New Urbanism, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism, pets.com, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional

But only a quarter say they are seriously trying to lose weight. In the 1980s a new discipline called Prospect Theory—also known as behavioral economics—deployed the tools of psychology to analyze economic behavior. It found all sorts of peculiar behaviors that don’t fit economics’ standard understanding of what makes us happy. For instance, losing something reduces our happiness more than winning the same thing increases it—a quirk known as loss aversion. We are unable to distinguish between choices that have slightly different odds of making us happy. We extrapolate from a few experiences to arrive at broad, mostly wrong conclusions. We herd, imitating successful behaviors around us. Still, it remains generally true that we pursue what we think makes us happy—and though some of our choices may not make us happy, some will. Legend has it that Abraham Lincoln was riding in a carriage one rainy evening, telling a friend that he agreed with economists’ theory that people strove to maximize their happiness, when he caught sight of a pig stuck in a muddy riverbank.

electricity elephant-seal cows Elías, Julio Jorge e-mail, spam and Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act (1974) Empire State Stem Cell Board encyclopedias, free energy engagement rings engineers England environment see also climate change; pollution Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Epson ESP printers Essay on the Principle of Population, An (Malthus) Ethiopia Ethnographic Atlas (Murdock) eToys Eurobarometer surveys Europe Catholic Church in decline of polygamy in happiness in lack of sprawl in U.S. compared with work hours in see also Western Europe European Climate Exchange European Union evangelical Christianity executive pay ExxonMobil faith benefits of cheap cost of Fallaci, Oriana families changes to culture and income of of 9/11 victims size of Fanning, Shawn (the Napster) Federal Communications Commission Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Delaney Clause to (1958) Federal Reserve Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness” (Easterlin) Feinberg, Kenneth fertility decline in female file sharing film financial crises financial services fines fire departments fishing floors Florence foeticide food culture and faith and preparation of price increases for surpluses of Food and Agriculture Organization Food Quality Protection Act (1996) Ford Ford, Henry Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Fourier, Charles France happiness in work hours in Frank, Robert Free (Anderson) Freedom Communications free lunch, use of term free rider problem free things broadcast TV and movies music and Napstering the world and profiting from ideas freeware Freud, Sigmund fuel see also gas Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints future ethics of mispricing nature and price of Gabaix, Xavier Gallup polls Gandhi garbage gas price of General Motors (GM) General Social Survey General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, The (Keynes) genetics, genes Germany happiness in Germany, Nazi Gershom ben Judah Ghosts I-IV (album) gifts Glass-Steagall Act (1933) GlaxoSmithKline globalization global warming Goa God Goldin, Claudia goods Google Google News Gore, Al Gorton, Mark government hostility toward intervention of resource allocation of Great Britain bubbles in gas prices in happiness in politics in Great Depression Greece, ancient green revolution (1960s and 1970s) Greenspan, Alan gross national happiness (GNH) index Haiti Hammurabi Hanna, Mark happiness faith and genetics and life-cycle curve of loss aversion and money and problems with defining of right-left gap in U.S. trade-off and Hare Krishna Society Harvard University Haryana health health care health insurance Health Ministry, New Zealand Healthway Heinrich, Armin Hindus, Hinduism HIV homeland security, U.S. Homeland Security Department, U.S. Hoover, Herbert horse meat House of Representatives, U.S. housing, homes bubble price of HP human papillomavirus Hume, David Hungary hunting I Am Rich Iannaccone, Larry IBM Iceland ideas Illinois illustrators Illy iMacs immigrants illegal Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986) improvement income family happiness and inequality of marriage and national redistribution of tax on technological progress and indentured servants India future of marriage in sex ratios in Indonesia indulgences industrialization inequality income Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!

 

pages: 261 words: 86,905

How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say--And What It Really Means by John Lanchester

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asset allocation, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, forward guidance, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, high net worth, High speed trading, hindsight bias, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kodak vs Instagram, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, loss aversion, margin call, McJob, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working poor, yield curve

Instead of the big broad models used in economics, in which “rational actors” behave in ways designed to “maximize their utility,” behavioral economics studies the kinds of calculations people make in real life, with a particular emphasis on things we do that are demonstrably not rational in the strict economic sense. An example is “loss aversion,” in which people are provably more unwilling to take risks that involve losses than to take risks involving gains, even when the outcomes are, in mathematical terms, identical. The fact that people don’t always behave rationally may not come as news in the wider world, but the intellectual challenge provided to conventional economics by behavioral economics is big and important. It’s also a field that offers useful takeaways for the ordinary person, because you can catch yourself doing some of the things described by behavioral economists, such as loss aversion and “hindsight bias,” i.e., the tendency to explain things that happened in terms of how they turned out, rather than how they seemed at the time.

 

pages: 297 words: 96,509

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

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Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Tversky, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” Econometrica 47: 263–91 (1979); A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice,” Science 211: 453–58 (1981); and A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, “Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 106: 1039–61 (1991). 35. D. Kahneman, J. L. Knetsch, and R. H. Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” Journal of Political Economy 98: 1325–48 (1990); and D. Kahneman, J. Kentsch, and D. Thaler, “The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5: 193–206 (1991). 36. L. van Boven, D. Dunning, and G. F. Loewenstein, “Egocentric Empathy Gaps Between Owners and Buyers: Misperceptions of the Endowment Effect,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79: 66–76 (2000); and Z.

 

pages: 297 words: 96,509

Time Paradox by Philip, John Boyd Zimbardo

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Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Tversky, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” Econometrica 47: 263–91 (1979); A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice,” Science 211: 453–58 (1981); and A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, “Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 106: 1039–61 (1991). 35. D. Kahneman, J. L. Knetsch, and R. H. Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” Journal of Political Economy 98: 1325–48 (1990); and D. Kahneman, J. Kentsch, and D. Thaler, “The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5: 193–206 (1991). 36. L. van Boven, D. Dunning, and G. F. Loewenstein, “Egocentric Empathy Gaps Between Owners and Buyers: Misperceptions of the Endowment Effect,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79: 66–76 (2000); and Z.

 

pages: 383 words: 108,266

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

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air freight, Al Roth, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, endowment effect, financial innovation, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, invisible hand, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, market bubble, Murray Gell-Mann, payday loans, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

RELATED READINGS Richard Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (1980). Jack Knetsch, “The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves,” American Economic Review, Vol. 79 (1989), 1277–1284. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” Journal of Political Economy (1990). Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5 (1991), 193–206. Chapter 8: Keeping Doors Open BASED ON Jiwoong Shin and Dan Ariely, “Keeping Doors Open: The Effect of Unavailability on Incentives to Keep Options Viable,” Management Science (2004). RELATED READINGS Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper, “When Choice Is De-motivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?”

., 273–74 job performance. 320–24 public scrutiny and, 322 relationship between compensation and, 320–21, 322–24 Jobst suit, 192–94 Johnston, David Cay, 204 JP Morgan Chase, 280 judgment and decision making (JDM), xxviii see also behavioral economics “Just say no” campaign, 100, 101 K Kahneman, Daniel, 19, 129 Keeney, Ralph, 264 knee surgery, arthroscopic, 174–76 Knetsch, Jack, 129 Knight-McDowell, Victoria, 277 Koran, 215 L “Lake Wobegone Effect,” 268–69 Latin America, lack of trust in, 214 Lay, Kenneth, 219 learned helplessness, 312–16 experiments on, 312–14 in financial meltdown, 314–16 recovering from, 315–16 Leaves of Grass (Whitman), 40–41 Lee, Leonard, 21, 157–59, 161, 337 legal profession: attempts at improving ethics of, 213–14 decline of ethics and values in, 209–10 Lehman Brothers, 280, 310 leisure, blurring of partition between work and, 80, 81 Leland, John, 122–23 Leo III, Pope, 188 Leonardo da Vinci, 274 Levav, Jonathan, 231–37, 337 Levitt, Steven, xvi Li, Jian, 166–68 Lincoln, Abraham, 177 Linux, 81 List, John, xvi loans: punitive finance practices and, 300–301, 304 see also mortgages lobbyists, congressional restrictions on, 205 Loewenstein, George, 21, 26, 30–31, 39, 89,, 320–21, 337–38 Logic of Life, The (Harford), 291–92 Lorenz, Konrad, 25, 43 loss: aversion to, 134, 137, 138, 148–49 fear of, 54–55 Lost World, The (Crichton), 317–18 loyalty: in business-customer relations, 78–79 of employees to their companies, 80–84 M Macbeth (Shakespeare), 188 Madoff, Bernard, 291 Maier, Steve, 312-13 major, college students’ choice of, 141–42 manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), 30, 45 marketing: high price tag and, 24–25 hype of, related to satisfaction derived from product, 186–87, 190–91 relativity and, 1–6, 9–10 “trial” promotions and, 136–37 zero cost and, 49–50 market norms, 67–88 companies’ relations with their customers and, 78–80 companies’ relations with their employees and, 80–84, 252–54 doing away with, 86–88 education and, 85 mere mention of money and, 73–75 mixing signals of social norms and, 69, 73–74, 75–77, 79, 214, 250–52 reducing emphasis on, 88 social norms kept separate from, 67–69, 75–76, 77–78 willingness to risk life and, 84 working for gifts and, 72–74 working under social norms vs., 69–72 Maryland Judicial Task Force, 210 Mazar, Nina, 196–97, 206, 219–20, 224, 320–21, 338 McClure, Sam, 166–68 Mead, Nicole, 74–75 medical benefits, recent cuts in, 82 medical care, see health care medical profession: conflicts of interest and, 293, 295 decline of ethics and values in, 210 salaries of, as practicing physicians vs.

 

pages: 464 words: 117,495

The New Trading for a Living: Psychology, Discipline, Trading Tools and Systems, Risk Control, Trade Management by Alexander Elder

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additive manufacturing, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, buy low sell high, Checklist Manifesto, deliberate practice, diversification, Elliott wave, endowment effect, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Ponzi scheme, price stability, psychological pricing, quantitative easing, random walk, risk tolerance, short selling, South Sea Bubble, systematic trading, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, traveling salesman, tulip mania

They go into risky gambles to postpone taking losses. It is human nature to take profits quickly and losses slowly. The irrational behavior increases when people feel under pressure. According to Dr. Shapiro, at the racetrack, “bets on long shots increase in the last two races of the day.” Prof. Daniel Kahneman writes in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow: “The sure loss is very aversive, and this drives you to take the risk … Considerable loss aversion exists even when the amount at risk is minuscule relative to your wealth … losses loom larger than corresponding gains.” He adds: “Animals, including people, fight harder to prevent losses than to achieve gains” and spells it out: “People who face very bad options take desperate gambles, accepting a high probability of making things worse in exchange for a small hope of avoiding a large loss.

See also Timeframes; individual indicators Intrinsic value (options) Inverse ETFs Inversions (futures) Investing (long-term trading) Investors Intelligence Iron Triangle of risk control, the Isolation in trading J Japanese candlesticks Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques (Steve Nison) K Kahneman, Daniel Kangaroo tails (fingers) Kaufman, Josh Keelan, Brian Key demands for trades Keynes, John Maynard L Lag, of moving averages Lane, George Large speculators Larsen, Max Leaders: of crowds and fear of uncertainty gurus dead followers of magic method market cycle loyalty to Learning trading skills LeBon, Gustave Letter writers (financial) Leverage, in forex Leveraged ETFs Leveraged inverse ETFs Life, taking charge of Limits, on futures Limit orders Liquidity Long-term price cycles Long-term timeframe Long-term trading (investing) Look-back windows (New High–New Low Index) Losers: AA principles for denial by emotional responses of and emotional trading fantasies of autopilot myth brain myth cult of personality undercapitalization myth pain and regret felt by and self-control vs. controlling markets self-destructive and volume of trading wishful thinking by Losers Anonymous Losses: in account as a whole businessman's risks vs. on CFDs cutting of former institutional traders inability to manage on options per share, limiting psychological effect of 6% Rule to limit 2% Rule to limit Loss aversion Lovvorn, Kerry Low-priced stocks, indictors based on volume of “Low” volume M MAs, see Moving averages MACD, see Moving Average Convergence-Divergence MACD-Histogram combined with channels divergences in Impulse system and market psychology peaks and valleys seasons of semiautomatic divergence scanner slope of time windows of trading rules in Triple Screen system MACD Lines crossover of Signal lines and MACD line in divergences and market psychology trading rules Mackay, Charles MacMillan, Lawrence Magic method gurus Managing trades forecasting vs.

 

pages: 147 words: 45,890

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

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Berlin Wall, declining real wages, delayed gratification, Doha Development Round, endowment effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, job automation, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mortgage debt, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, sovereign wealth fund, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, World Values Survey

Millar Publishing, 1790), pp. 261–63. 9 Almost 10 percent fewer people were killed: See National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia (http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx). 10 deaths and serious injuries dropped: See U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, economic news release: “Workplace Injury and Illness Summary,” October 29, 2009. 4. THE PAIN OF ECONOMIC LOSS 1 Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman: See D. Kahneman, J. L. Knetch, and R. H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5, no. 1 (Winter 1991): 193–206. 2 Societies whose living standards drop: Ibid. 3 Behavioral economist Christopher Ruhm: See C. J. Ruhm, Are Recessions Good for Your Health?, National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2006. 4 The stock market crash of 1929: See Leonardo Tondo and Ross J. Baldessarini, Suicides: Causes and Clinical Management, Medscape Medical News (http://cme.medscape.com/viewarticle/413195_2). 5 “the crisis quality of a serious illness”: Robert S.

 

pages: 226 words: 59,080

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

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airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, white flight

The postulate always had its critics from within economics, such as Herbert Simon, who argued for a limited form of rationality (called “bounded rationality”), and Richard Nelson, who proposed that firms move by trial and error rather than by optimization—not to mention Adam Smith himself, who may have been the first behavioral economist.11 But it was the work of psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his coauthors that had the greatest impact on mainstream economics.12 This contribution was recognized by a Nobel memorial prize in economics given to Kahneman in 2002, the first time that the prize was awarded to a noneconomist.# Kahneman and his colleagues’ experiments cataloged a long list of behavioral regularities that violated rationality, as the concept is used in economics. People value an object more when giving it up than they do when acquiring it (loss aversion), overgeneralize from small amounts of data (overconfidence), discount evidence that contradicts their beliefs (confirmation bias), yield to short-term temptations that they realize are bad for them (weak self-control), value fairness and reciprocity (bounded selfishness), and so on. These types of behavior have important implications in many areas of economics. For example, the efficient-markets hypothesis in finance (see Chapter 5) relies on investors having unbiased expectations.

 

pages: 252 words: 70,424

The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen

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Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional

The Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and his research partner Amos Tversky first proposed the subjective nature of risk in a 1979 paper in which they describe a series of experiments they conducted to come up with their famous Prospect Theory, a model for human decision making. At its core, Prospect Theory argues that individual perceptions of risk can be influenced by how an opportunity is framed, the context in which it is presented, personal experience, and other factors. Among other ideas, Prospect Theory first introduced the world to the concept of loss aversion, the now-accepted notion that people are more afraid of losing what they have than they are eager to gain something new.5 For most people, the subjective nature of risk causes them to overestimate the risk of failure and underestimate the risk of missing out on a gain. Producers, in contrast, have the ability to turn that tendency on its head. People like Yan Cheung are willing to risk failure.

 

pages: 280 words: 75,820

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Build a better mousetrap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, fundamental attribution error, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, music of the spheres, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Walter Mischel

“That’s why following every detail of your financial situation is a problem, unless you get pleasure from it,” says Kahneman. “If you focus too much on each issue separately, considering each loss and gain in isolation, you make mistakes.” If you’re pondering a choice that involves risk, you might focus too much on the threat of possible loss, thereby obscuring an even likelier potential benefit. Where this common scenario is concerned, research shows that we aren’t so much risk-averse as loss-averse, in that we’re generally much more sensitive to what we might have to give up than to what we might gain. Let’s say that you’re invited to toss a coin. The terms are that if it’s tails, you lose twenty dollars; heads, you win a certain amount. If you’re then asked how much your winnings would have to be to make you take the chance, you’re likely to suggest between forty and fifty dollars. In other words, because we put more weight on the loss than the reward, before taking a 50/50 gamble, most people want to know that they’d win at least twice as much as they’d forfeit.

 

pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

The result, as the physicist Max Planck famously acknowledged, is often that “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die.”15 WHAT IS RELEVANT? Taken together, the evidence from psychological experiments makes clear that there are a great many potentially relevant factors that affect our behavior in very real and tangible ways but that operate largely outside of our conscious awareness. Unfortunately, psychologists have identified so many of these effects—priming, framing, anchoring, availability, motivated reasoning, loss aversion, and so on—that it’s hard to see how they all fit together. By design, experiments emphasize one potentially relevant factor at a time in order to isolate its effects. In real life, however, many such factors may be present to varying extents in any given situation; thus it’s critical to understand how they interact with one another. It may be true, in other words, that holding a green pen makes you think of Gatorade, or that listening to German music predisposes you to German wine, or that thinking of your social security number affects how much you will bid for something.

 

pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

At no point have we had central bankers missing elementary risk metrics—like debt levels, which even the Babylonians understood well. I recently talked to a scholar of rare wisdom and erudition, Jon Elster, who, upon exploring themes from social science, integrates insights from all authors in the corpus of the past twenty-five hundred years, from Cicero and Seneca to Montaigne and Proust. He showed me how Seneca had a very sophisticated understanding of loss aversion. I felt guilty for the time I spent on the Internet. Upon getting home, I found in my mail a volume of posthumous essays by Bishop Pierre Daniel Huet, called Huetiana, put together by his admirers circa 1722. It is saddening to realize that, having been born nearly four centuries after Huet, and having done most of my reading with material written after his death, I am not much more advanced in wisdom than he was.

 

pages: 292 words: 85,151

Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (And What to Do About It) by Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest

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23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, corporate social responsibility, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, Dean Kamen, dematerialisation, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, ethereum blockchain, Galaxy Zoo, game design, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hiring and firing, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loose coupling, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, means of production, minimum viable product, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, p-value, PageRank, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, software is eating the world, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, X Prize, Y Combinator

Confirmation bias: Tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions. Framing bias: Drawing different conclusions from the same information, depending on how or by whom that information is presented. Optimism bias: Tendency to be over-optimistic, overestimating favorable and pleasing outcomes. Planning fallacy bias: Tendency to overestimate benefits and underestimate costs and task-completion times. Sunk-cost or loss-aversion bias: Disutility of giving up an object is greater than the utility associated with acquiring it. Complete list of all cognitive biases: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases Jacobstein is fond of pointing out that your neocortex has not had a major upgrade in 50,000 years. It is the size, shape and thickness of a dinner napkin. “What if,” he asks, “it was the size of a table cloth?

 

pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K

Behavioral Finance Group that is dedicated to looking at investor emotions and irrationality, particularly during crises.23 Behavioral economists now teach at Stanford, Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Princeton, MIT, and Harvard,24 and have earned two Nobel Prizes in economics. Behavioral finance is the study of the way people consistently act against their own best financial interests, as well as how to exploit these psychological weaknesses when peddling questionable securities and products. These are proven behaviors with industry-accepted names like “money illusion bias,” “loss aversion theory,” “irrationality bias,” and “time discounting.” For instance, people do not borrow opportunistically, but irrationally. As if looking at objects in the distance, they see future payments as smaller than ones in the present—even if they are actually larger. They are more reluctant to lose a small amount of money than gain a larger one, no matter the probability of either event in a particular transaction.

 

pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

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Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, land reform, loss aversion, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

These habits are hard to change – even though people might want to change. People are motivated to ‘do the right thing’: there are cases where money is actually demotivating because it undermines what drives people in the first place (you might stop looking after neighbours’ children if they insisted on paying you). People’s self-expectations influence how they behave: they want their actions to be in line with their values and their commitments. People are loss-averse and hang on to what they consider ‘theirs’. People are bad at computation when making decisions: they put too much weight on recent events and too little on far-off ones. They are bad at working out probabilities and worry too much about unlikely events, and they are strongly influenced by how the problem or information is presented to them. People need to feel involved and effective to make a change: just giving people the incentives and information is not necessarily enough.

 

pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

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Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs

Danielle, “Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players,” IZA Discussion Paper No. 2834, http://bit.ly/PvNd12 (June 2007) Paserman, M. Danielle, “Gender Differences in Performance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from Professional Tennis Players,” http://bit.ly/TCgsQY (2010) Pope, Devin G., & Maurice E. Schweitzer, “Is Tiger Woods Loss Averse? Persistent Bias in the Face of Experience, Competition, and High Stakes,” American Economic Review, vol. 101(1), pp. 129–157 (2011) “Rally Propels Mauresmo to First Fitle at Wimbledon,” AP via USA Today, http://usat.ly/PDjLVP (7/14/2006) “Tennis—List of Wimbledon Women’s Singles Champions,” Reuters UK, http://reut.rs/KPlZ8G (7/21/2012) The Progression of Psychological Theories of Gain/Prevention Orientation: Appelt, Kirstin C., & E.

 

pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

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AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

Financial investment firms have a version of this for personal investing that is called “behavioral finance.” It means that no matter how good automated decision-making can be about what financial assets to buy and sell at what times, irrational humans may override the advice—whether human or automated—and make bad decisions. Some of the common ways that investors make poor decisions include “loss aversion”—caring more about not losing a dollar than gaining a dollar—and “familiarity bias”—being more willing to invest in familiar assets, like the stocks of companies in their home country, than those in companies they’ve never heard of. These irrational decision criteria lead to such woeful investor behaviors as “buying high and selling low.” Robo-advisor-only companies, such as Betterment and Wealthfront, and large financial advisor companies that have adopted some automated advice capabilities, such as Vanguard and Fidelity, have begun to employ behavioral finance approaches to try to understand and improve investor behavior.

 

pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

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3D printing, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar

Interestingly, as we saw earlier, it was only when debt-based currency’s limits began to surface in the twentieth century that those legions of psychologists were hired by banks and credit companies to come up with ways to get people to borrow more money, and at higher interest rates. The psychologists learned how to exploit people’s misconceptions about how money worked and gave names to each of our vulnerabilities, such as “irrationality bias,” “money illusion bias,” “loss aversion theory,” and “time discounting.”* Then, they created products and wrote advertising that took advantage of these failings in order to get people to act against their own best interests. In other words, if the money stops fulfilling the needs of human beings, you change human beings to fit the needs of the money. It’s yet another example of the industrial-age ethos that places human needs and values below those of the greater machines and systems in which we live.

 

pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

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banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Wall-E, Walter Mischel

Imagine I give you a $100 check that is good in ninety days. Then I try to bargain you down: Would you be willing to trade it in for a $50 check that is good today? Most people would not. However, if people are first given the $50 check, and then asked if they’d be willing to exchange it for a $100 delayed reward, most will not. The reward you start with is the one you want to keep. One reason is that most people are loss-averse—that is, we really don’t like to lose something we already have. Losing $50 makes people more unhappy than getting $50 makes them happy. When you think about a larger, future reward first and consider trading it in for a smaller, immediate reward, it registers as a loss. But when you start with the immediate reward (the $50 check in your hand) and consider the benefits of delaying gratification for a larger reward, it also feels like a loss.

 

pages: 280 words: 82,623

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter

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business process, cognitive dissonance, financial independence, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, knowledge worker, loss aversion, shareholder value

So he instituted a seemingly simple carrot-and-stick scheme: Every time the writer made his monthly deadline, he’d get a $500 bonus. To no effect. The writer still missed his deadlines. Apparently, he was making enough money so that an additional $500 a month didn’t make that much difference to him. It was no different when the entrepreneur increased the bonus to $3000. Still no improvement. Only when the boss resorted to deducting $3000 from the writer’s paycheck did he change his ways. Economists would call this “loss aversion”—the phenomenon that we hate losing something more than we enjoy gaining its equivalent. I would call this prejudice—a failure to understand what motivates an employee. The writer did indeed meet his deadlines for a few months, but he left the company within six months. Apparently, although the writer didn’t care about the rewards for good performance, he felt strongly about being punished for poor performance.

 

pages: 471 words: 97,152

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Many saving anomalies are summarized in Shiller (1982), Grossman et al. (1987), Campbell and Deaton (1989), and Deaton (1992). Hall and Mishkin (1982) explain some anomalies by dividing individuals into consumers who are borrowing-constrained and those without such a constraint. Shea (1995b) shows evidence that neither borrowing constraints nor “myopia” can fully explain the predictability of consumption; he proposes that preferences involving loss aversion must play a role in explaining the predictability of consumption. Shefrin and Thaler assembled some of the evidence of anomalies and produced a behavioral life-cycle model that incorporates some of the best features of the life-cycle model of Ando and Modigliani (1963) and adjusts it for known facts about human behavior (Thaler 1994). For a broader discussion of these issues see Thaler (1994). 10.

 

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Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, availability heuristic, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, complexity theory, corporate governance, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, equity premium, global village, hindsight bias, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, too big to fail, Turing test, Yogi Berra

New York: Russell Sage Foundation. ———, and S. Frederick, 2002, “Representativeness Revisited: Attribute Substitution in Intuitive Judgment.” In Gilovich, Griffin, and Kahneman. ———, J. L. Knetsch, and R. H. Thaler, 1986, “Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions.” Journal of Business, Vol. 59 (4), 251–278. ———, J. L. Knetsch, and R. H. Thaler, 1991, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias.” In Kahneman and Tversky (2000). ———, and D. Lovallo, 1993, “Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk-taking. Management Science, 39, 17–31. ———, P. Slovic, and A. Tversky, eds., 1982, Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press. ———, and A. Tversky, 1972, “Subjective Probability: A Judgment of Representativeness.”

 

pages: 407 words: 114,478

The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio by William J. Bernstein

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asset allocation, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buy low sell high, carried interest, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, German hyperinflation, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, index fund, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, mortgage debt, new economy, pattern recognition, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, South Sea Bubble, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve

We can estimate that because of their fear of short-term loss, their portfolios were underexposed to stocks to the point where they lost 3% of return annually over the next three decades. Compounding 3% of underperformance over 30 years means that their final wealth was 59% less than it should have been. In other words, their fear of a 20% to 40% loss cost them 59% of their assets. In academic finance, this is called “myopic loss aversion”—focusing on short-term dangers and ignoring the far more serious long-term ones. Why do we do this? Human beings experience risk in the short-term. This is as it should be, of course. In the state of nature our ancestors inhabited, an ability to focus on the risks of the moment had much greater survival value than long-term strategic analytic ability. Unfortunately, a visceral obsession with the here and now is of rather less use in modern society, particularly in the world of investing.

 

The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy by Seth Mnookin

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, illegal immigration, index card, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, neurotypical, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

“The Vaccine-Autism Court Document Every American Should Read.” The Huffington Post, February 26, 2008; Web, August 10, 2010. ———. “Vaccines and Autism: Questions.” The Huffington Post, May 20, 2005; Web, August 10, 2010. Laidler, James R. “Through the Looking Glass: My Involvement with Autism Quackery.” Autism Watch, December 7, 2004; Web, October 12, 2009. Lehrer, Jonah. “Cable News.” ScienceBlogs, January 26, 2010; Web, August 10, 2010. ———. “Loss Aversion.” ScienceBlogs, February 10, 2010; Web, April 16, 2010. Leitch, Kevin. “DAN!—On a mission from God.” Left Brain, Right Brain, October 9, 2006; Web, August 10, 2010. McCarthy, Jenny. “A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do.” Oprah.com, May 17, 2009; Web, October 12, 2009. McCarthy, Jenny, and Jim Carrey. “A Statement from Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey: Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys.”

 

pages: 422 words: 131,666

Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back by Douglas Rushkoff

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affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, car-free, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, computer age, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, financial innovation, Firefox, full employment, global village, Google Earth, greed is good, Howard Rheingold, income per capita, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, peak oil, place-making, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social software, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Victor Gruen, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, young professional

And it’s especially cynical to do so while marketing and defending financial instruments intentionally designed to take advantage of consumers’ irrationality when making economic decisions. Behavioral finance is the study of the way people consistently act against their own best financial interests, as well as how to exploit these psychological weaknesses when peddling questionable securities and products. These are proven behaviors with industry-accepted names like “money illusion bias,” “loss aversion theory,” “irrationality bias,” and “time discounting.” People do not borrow opportunistically, but irrationally. As if looking at objects in the distance, they see future payments as smaller than ones in the present—even if they are actually larger. They are more reluctant to lose a small amount of money than to gain a larger one—no matter the probability of either event in a particular transaction.

 

Culture and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets - Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most Remain Poor by John Kay

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, California gold rush, complexity theory, computer age, constrained optimization, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equity premium, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, failed state, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, George Gilder, greed is good, haute couture, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pets.com, popular electronics, price discrimination, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, urban decay, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, yield curve, yield management

Journal of Political Economy 82 (2) (March-April): S 11-S26. ---. 1981. A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ---. 1993. "The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior (Nobel Lecture)." Journal of Political Economy 101 (3) Oune): 385-409. Belsky, G., and T. Gilovich. 2000. Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes. New York: Fireside. Benartzi, S., and R H. Thaler. 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium." Quarterly Journal ofEconomics, February, 73-92. Berlin, I. 2000. The Power ofIdeas. Ed. H. Hardy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Bernstein, P. L. 1996. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. New York and Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Berry, C.]. 1997. Social Theory ofthe Scottish Enlightenment. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. { 392} Bibliography Bertram,].

 

pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mouse model, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

This asymmetry between the effects of good and bad, benefit and harm, had to be familiar to the ancients—I found an earlier exposition in Livy: “Men feel the good less intensely than the bad” (segnius homines bona quam mala sentiunt), he wrote half a generation before Seneca. Ancients—mostly thanks to Seneca—stay way ahead of modern psychologists and Triffat-style decision theorists who have developed theories around the notion of “risk (or loss) aversion,” the ancients remain deeper, more practical, while transcending vulgar therapy. Let me rephrase it in modern terms. Take the situation in which you have a lot to lose and little to gain. If an additional quantity of wealth, say, a thousand Phoenician shekels, would not benefit you, but you would feel great harm from the loss of an equivalent amount, you have an asymmetry. And it is not a good asymmetry: you are fragile.