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Framing Effects in Stock Market Forecasts: The Difference Between Asking for Prices and Asking for Returns

Markus Glaser (), Thomas Langer (), Jens Reynders () and Martin Weber
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Markus Glaser: Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Postal: L 13, 15, D-68131 Mannheim
Thomas Langer: Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster Lehrstuhl für BWL, insbesondere Finanzierung, Postal: Universitätsstraße 14-16 48143 Münster

No 05-40, Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications from Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim

Abstract: In this study, we analyze whether individual expectations of stock returns are influenced by the specific elicitation mode (i.e. whether forecasters have to state future price levels or directly future returns). We thus examine whether there are framing effects in stock market forecasts. We present questionnaire responses of about 250 students from two German universities. Participants were asked to state median forecasts as well as confidence intervals for seven stock market time series. Using a between subject design, one half of the subjects was asked to state future price levels, the other group was directly asked for returns. The main results of our study can be summarized as follows. There is a highly significant framing effect. For upward sloping time series, the return forecasts given by investors who are asked directly for returns are significantly higher than those stated by investors who are asked for prices. For downward sloping time series, the return forecasts given by investors who are asked directly for returns are significantly lower than those stated by investors who are asked for prices. Furthermore, our data shows that subjects underestimate the volatility of stock returns, indicating overconfidence. As a new insight, we find that the strength of the overconfidence effect in stock market forecasts is highly significantly affected by the fact whether subjects provide price or return forecasts. Volatility estimates are lower (and the overconfidence bias is thus stronger) when subjects are asked for returns compared to price forecasts. Moreover, we find that financial education improves answers of subjects. The observed framing effect and the overconfidence bias are less pronounced for subjects with higher financial education.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-fin, nep-fmk and nep-for
Date: 2005-11-03
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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