# Herding, Contrarianism and Delay in Financial Market Trading

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1 Herding, Contrarianism and Delay in Financial Market Trading A Lab Experiment Andreas Park & Daniel Sgroi University of Toronto & University of Warwick

2 Two Restaurants E cient Prices Classic Herding Example: Two Assets People have private information about which of two assets (A or B) is better. They arrive in sequence and can observe predecessors actions. The rst follows his signal (say A). The second knows the rst s signal, and his own (say A, hence goes for A). The third can disregard his own and will herd to asset A. If he had a B this would cancel with the rst signal, leaving agent 3 looking to agent 2, hence opting for A. A fortiori if he had an A signal. Consequence: from agent 3 onwards herding is possible!

3 Two Restaurants E cient Prices What About Prices? Sticking with the 2 state/2 action world of the last slide let s add prices. Informationally e cient prices automatically incorporate public information about actions, leaving only private information as a means of pro t. For instance, with a single price: p t = E [V jh t ], so pro t comes from E [V jh t, S t ] E [V jh t ]. [With a spread we need noise traders to allow pro ts since the market can take into account the action of the trader]. We seem to have lost the potential for herding!

4 Basic Setup Introduction Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives Asset value V 2 fv 1, V 2, V 3 g = f75, 100, 125g. Pr (V 1 ) = Pr (V 2 ) = Pr (V 3 ). Traders of two types: 1 Informed (subjects, 75%: can buy, sell or hold as they wish); 2 Noise (computer traders, 25%: buy or sell with equal probability). Informed receive private conditionally iid signal S 2 fs 1, S 2, S 3 g about V wlog ordered S 1 < S 2 < S 3 and can observe the prior history of actions H t. Optimal rational choice for informed (assuming indi erent agents buy) is buy if E [V jh t, S t ] price, otherwise sell.

5 Market Maker Introduction Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives Trade is organized by a market maker. In theory he posts a bid-price (at which he buys) and an ask-price (at which he sells). To keep it simple in the experiment we have a single price for all trades p t = E [V jh t ]. Subjects know that he will adjust price upwards with a buy and down with a sell.

6 De nitions Introduction Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives A trader rationally engages in herd-buying (herd-selling) after a history of trade H t i : 1 he would sell (buy) at the initial history H 1 ; 2 he buys (sells) at history H t ; 3 prices at H t are higher (lower) than at H 1. A trader rationally engages in buy-contrarianism (sell-contrarianism) after a history H t i : 1 he would sell (buy) at the initial history H 1 ; 2 he buys (sells) at history H t ; 3 prices at H t are lower (higher) than at H 1.

7 Rational Herding and Contrarianism Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives Consider exogenous-time (a strict sequence). If S 2 types have decreasing or increasing csds they cannot herd or be contrarian (they become similar to S 1 and S 3 types respectively). Herding candidates must receive information that makes their decisions more volatile and so they distribute weight to the tails of their beliefs - we call this U-shaped information. Contrarian candidates behave in a stabilizing manner, distributing weight towards the centre of their beliefs - we call this hill-shaped information.

8 Conditional Signal Distributions Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives

9 Theorem Introduction Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives From Park & Sabourian (2008), for exogenous-time (strict sequences) we have: Types S 1 and S 3 never herd or act in a contrarian manner. Type S 2 buy(sell)-herd i his csd is negative(positive) U-shaped. Type S 2 buy(sell)-contrarian i his csd is negative(positive) hill-shaped.

10 Timing Introduction Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives So far (and in all existing theoretical and experimental studies into nancial herding) we require that traders wait in line until it is their turn to trade. That s not what happens in reality they choose both how and when to trade. This is especially important since timing and herding may be linked. For the static decision of how to trade we continue with the exogenous-time theory, for the dynamic decision we have some further observations. They are both part of a single problem but we separate them for expositional clarity.

11 Objectives Introduction Basic Setup Market Maker De nitions Rational Herding and Contrarianism Conditional Signal Distributions Theorem Timing Objectives We will run an experiment to test: whether the informational structure matters (ie can we explain why people herd even when we add endogenous time and reversible trades?); whether timing matters (can we say anything useful since the theory is intractable?).

13 Treatments Time-line The Trading Software Numbers Time-line Initial instructions including hand-outs that could be viewed at any time. The existence and proportion of noise-trades explained, and subjects are told what S 1, S 2 and S 3 signals mean prior to each treatment (so they "understand" all the signals not just the ones they receive). For each treatment they are given the full signal matrix and the posterior for each signal at H 1 and then signals handed out via the computer. Subjects can act whenever they wish within a 3 minute time period, with regular announcements of time available. Noise traders act at random times.

14 Treatments Time-line The Trading Software Numbers The Trading Software Traders can always see their signal, current price and the history of prices (actions).

15 Treatments Time-line The Trading Software Numbers Numbers We ran 13 sessions in total (3 at UCambridge, 6 at UWarwick, 4 at UToronto). Group sizes were trades. By type: 623 (S 1 ), 786 (S 2 ), 584 (S 3 ); Single trade: 683 with 197 S 1, 276 S 2 and 210 S 3 ; Two trades: 1310 with 426 S 1, 510 S 2 and 374 S 3.

16 Overall Fit Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion The rational (exogenous-time) model explains about 73% of trades (comparable to other herding studies, even those without prices). [In a sister paper focusing on exogenous-time in the lab this number was 75%]. Assuming di erent levels of risk aversion doesn t improve t ) risk neutrality a fair assumption. But what we are really interested in is whether we can explain behaviour and so guard against it.

17 Herding vs Contrarianism Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion We check whether U-shape/hill-shape signi cant source for herding/contrarianism: herd i,t = α + βu-shape i,t + xed i + ɛ i,t, contra i,t = α + βhill-shape i,t + xed i + ɛ i,t The regressions (that follow) indicate that YES the type of signal is extremely signi cant.

18 Herding Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Herding all types T1-T3 T4-T6 rst trade second trade T4-T6 T4-T6 Logit 0.292** 0.114** 0.397** 0.228** 0.446** (-0.022) (-0.032) (-0.032) (-0.025) (-0.05) OLS 0.378** 0.138** 0.495** 0.293** 0.552** (-0.025) (-0.039) (-0.031) (-0.03) (-0.043) OLS xed 0.352** ** 0.276** 0.545** e ects (-0.027) (-0.042) (-0.038) (-0.032) (-0.057) Observations

19 Contrarianism Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Contra all types T1-T3 T4-T6 rst trade second trade T4-T6 T4-T6 Logit 0.361** 0.304** 0.419** 0.358** 0.371** (-0.056) (-0.081) (-0.082) (-0.064) (-0.114) OLS 0.434** 0.353** 0.508** 0.439** 0.429** (-0.057) (-0.085) (-0.079) (-0.066) (-0.114) OLS xed 0.406** 0.300* 0.473** 0.405** 0.655** e ects (-0.063) (-0.117) (-0.108) (-0.076) (-0.177) Observations

20 Absolute Timing Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Type S trading systematically before type S 0 can be interpreted that the distribution of trading times for type S is rst order stochastically dominated by that of type S 0. Graphically, the cdf of S lies above the cdf of S 0. Stark example: if traders have two trades then the rst trades typically occur before their rst trade when they have only one trade:

21 Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion

22 Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion

23 Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion

24 Relative Timing Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Relative proximity: The percentage of trades that follow within 1.5 seconds of another. All S1 S2 S3 hill ve U +ve U All times 67% 66% 63% 71% 64% 66% 61% total time >5 sec 58% 56% 57% 62% 57% 60% 55% total time >10 sec 54% 52% 53% 58% 55% 55% 50% total time >20 sec 51% 48% 51% 55% 56% 50% 49% total time >30 sec 50% 44% 50% 54% 56% 49% 46%

25 Frequency Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Frequency of Time differences time difference

26 Conclusion Introduction Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Behaviour is largely consistent with static (exogenous-time) theory for S 1 and S 3, less for S 2 so static models have something to o er for real-world predictions. Herding and contrarian signals are the signi cant source of herding and contrarianism. Having such a signal increases the chance of herding by 30% and 36% respectively (the e ect of the Herd signal is much stronger than in exogenous-time framework (a mere 6%)). Most behavioural theories don t greatly improve the t, though a variation on level-k/qre may be useful for predicting behaviour.

27 Conclusion (continued) Overall Fit Herding vs Contrarianism Herding Contrarianism Absolute Timing Relative Timing Conclusion Absolute timing: S 1 and S 3 trade systematically before the S 2. Hill shape trades before U-shape. With two trades allowed, trading occurs earlier. Relative timing: there is evidence of clustering, but does not depend on information. Other results: Prices do have an e ect: the larger the price, the less likely traders are to buy (end-point e ect). Return trading occurs.

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