New perspectives on the determinants and consequences of individuals' investment decisions
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This research examines how individuals formulate their investment decisions and the importance of these decisions to the financial marketplace. Traditional finance theory has focused on solving the rational investor's choice problem by considering each financial asset's contribution to the risk and return of the investor's existing portfolio. Alternatively, this study recognizes the inability of most individuals to consider all possible investments in the financial universe, and therefore approaches the investor's choice problem by focusing on environmental and psychological factors that guide the formulation of the investor's selection set. In particular, this research focuses on the importance of attention in influencing the common stock selections of individuals and shows that this attention effect can have a significant impact on the returns of attention-grabbing equities. Additionally, I document the impact of mutual fund family affiliation on the mutual fund investment decisions of individuals and discuss how apparent reputation effects could impact the organization and performance incentives of mutual funds.