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The Social Cost of Near-Rational Investment

Authors: Mertens, Thomas
Hassan, Tarek
Issue Date: 1-Nov-2010
Series/Report no.: FIN-10-008
Abstract: We show that the stock market may fail to aggregate information even if it appears to be efficient; the resulting collapse in the dissemination of information may drastically reduce welfare. We solve a macroeconomic model in which information about fundamentals is dispersed and households make small, correlated errors around their optimal investment policies. As information aggregates in the market, these errors amplify and crowd out the information content of stock prices. When stock prices reflect less information, the perceived and the actual volatility of stock returns rise. This increase in financial risk makes holding stocks unattractive, distorts the long-run level of capital accumulation, and causes costly ( first-order) distortions in the long-run level of consumption.
Appears in Collections:Finance Working Papers

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