Priming and Stock Preferences: Evidence From IPO Lotteries
53 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2020 Last revised: 22 Jun 2021
Date Written: December 25, 2019
Existing studies in social psychology have found that priming has pervasive effects, mostly in laboratory settings and over short periods of time. This study investigates the priming effect in the real financial world and over longer periods of time. We hypothesize that successful lottery-like experiences raise investors’ subsequent demand for other lottery-like stocks by increasing the accessibility of tail events. By exploiting the randomized distribution of IPO shares in China as a natural experiment, we find that, compared with matched control investors, the investors who were allocated IPO shares (lottery winners) substantially shift their non-IPO portfolios toward lottery-like stocks over the three months subsequent to the distribution. This effect is more pronounced for investors winning IPO lotteries with lower winning rates or larger issue-price discounts. Moreover, lottery winners experience a decrease in their overall portfolio return by more than 1% within the three months subsequent to the distribution relative to matched control investors, which is largely in proportion to the increases in their subsequent demand for lottery-like stocks. Our findings are not explained by the house money effect or the wealth effect. Overall, our study suggests that lottery-like cues play a critical role in shaping investors’ gambling preferences in stock markets, providing field-based evidence for the long-term priming effect.
Keywords: priming, preferences, lottery, IPO
JEL Classification: G11, G14, C91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation