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"No problem in judgment and decision making is more prevalent and more potentially catastrophic than overconfidence".
Plous (1993)

"People are overconfident. Psychologists have determined that overconfidence causes people to overestimate their knowledge, underestimate risks, and exaggerate their ability to control events. Does overconfidence occur in investment decision making? Security selection is a difficult task. It is precisely this type of task at which people exhibit the greatest overconfidence."
Nofsinger (2001)

  1. "Overconfidence is greatest when accuracy is near chance levels.
  2. Overconfidence diminishes as accuracy increases from 50 to 80 percent, and once accuracy exceeds 80 percent, people often become underconfident. In other words, the gap between accuracy and confidence is smallest when accuracy is around 80 percent, and it grows larger as accuracy departs from this level.
  3. Discrepancies between accuracy and confidence are not related to a decision maker's intelligence."
Plous (1993)

"Overconfidence and anchoring definitely appear to be part of the explanation underlying post-earnings-announcement drift."
Shefrin (2000)

"There are two main implications of investor overconfidence. The first is that investors take bad bets because they fail to realize that they are at an informational disadvantage. The second is that they trade more frequently than is prudent, which leads to excessive trading volume."
Shefrin (2000)

"The classic study in over-confidence is Lichenstein, Fischoff and Philips (1977)."
Montier (2002)

"Overconfidence, however generated, appears to be a fundamental factor promoting the high volume of trade we observe in speculative markets. Without such overconfidence, one would think that there would be little trading in financial markets." Shiller (2000)

There are many behavioural traits that are inherent in our nature, and ely proven. For example, overconfidence. How does overconfidence manifest itself in the nature of a financial time series?

Most importantly, if people weren't overconfident, they simply wouldn't trade at all. However, it seems unlikely that we can capture investors� inherent overconfidence and use it to our advantage in a predictive sense.

Overconfidence can cause investors to underreact to new information.

"The results obtained by Fischhoff, Slovic, and Lichtenstein show a widespread and persistent tendency to overconfidence."
Piattelli-Palmarini (1994) page 117

"To understand speculative bubbles, positive or negative, we must appreciate that overconfidence in one's own intuitive judgments plays a fundamental role."

"There are two main implications of investor overconfidence. The first is that investors take bad bets because they fail to realize that they are at an informational disadvantage. The second is that they trade more frequently than is prudent, which leads to excessive trading volume."

"However, people have a common tendency to make overconfident predictions. The brain is probably designed to make decisions with as much certainty as possible, after receiving little information. For survival purposes, confidence in the face of uncertainty is a characteristic"
Peters p35

"When people are overconfident, they set overly narrow confidence bands. They set their high guess too low (and their low guess too high). Hence, they get surprised more frequently than they anticipated."
Shefrin (2000) page 18-19

"Overconfidence: Too Much Trading"
Shefrin (2000) page 132

"the individuals who traded most fared worst, underperforming the index by 500 basis points."
Shefrin (2000) page 132

"Barber and Odean suggest that investors are overconfident in their abilities."
Shefrin (2000) page 133

"In addition, people tend to be overconfident in their predictions."
Shefrin (2000) page 300

"Yet some basic tendency towards overconfidence appears to be a robust human character trait: the bias is definitely toward overconfidence rather than underconfidence."
Shiller (2000) page 142

"Another aspect of overconfidence is that people tend to make judgments in uncertain situations by looking for familiar patterns and assuming that future patterns will resemble past ones, often without sufficient consideration of the reasons for the pattern or the probability of the pattern repeating itself. This anomaly of human judgment, called the, was demonstrated in a number of experiments by psychologists Tversky and Kahneman."
Shiller (2000) page 144

"Overconfidence, however generated, appears to be a fundamental factor promoting the high volume of trade we observe in speculative markets."
Shiller (2000) page 144

"Thus the Asch and Milgram experiments give us a different perspective on the overconfidence phenomenon: people are respectful of authorities in formulating the opinions about which they will later be so overconfident, transferring their confidence in authorities to their own judgements based upon them."
Shiller (2000) page 151

[noise traders] "Alternatively, they may incorrectly perceive the riskiness of returns, perhaps because they are overconfident."
Shleifer (2000) page 33

"Psychological research demonstrates that, in areas such as finance, men are more overconfident than women."
Barber and Odean (2001)

'Trader Name: "It will never go there"
Learned Name: Overconfidence
Description: Risk-taking out of an underestimation of the odds'
Taleb (2004) page 192

"Overoptimism and overconfidence tend to stem from the illusion of control and the illusion of knowledge." (Montier 2007, p. 20)

CAMERER, Colin and Dan LOVALLO, 1999. Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach. The American Economic Review, Vol. 89, No. 1. (Mar., 1999), pp. 306-318. [Cited by 200] (28.81/year)
First paragraph: "Psychological studies show that most people are overconfident about their own relative abilities, and unreasonably optimistic about their futures (e.g. Neil D. Weinstein, 1980; Shelly E. Taylor and J. D. Brown, 1988). When assessing their position in a distribution of peers on almost any positive trait—like driving ability (Ola Svenson, 1981), income prospects, or longevity—a vast majority of people say they are above the average, although of course, only half can be (if the trait is symmetrically distributed).1"
Footnote: "1There are interesting exceptions—most people demurely say they are not in the top decile or quintile, but merely above average; for many traits, women are less optimistic than men (and even overly pessimistic; e.g., Eleanor E. Maccoby and Carol N. Jacklin, 1974); and clinically depressed patients are not optimistic (e.g., Lauren B. Alloy and Anthony H. Ahrens, 1987). The latter finding calls into question the common psychiatric presumption that “realistic” people are well adjusted and happy, and also raises the question of whether unrealistic optimism might be evolutionary adaptive (e.g., Lionel Tiger, 1979) or socially beneficial (Giovanni Dosi and Lovallo, 1997). Michael Waldman (1994) shows how such optimism could be evolutionaryily stable, and mentions conditions under which gender differences like those observed empirically could arise."

Top 10 Papers

(as of 30 November 2008)

  1. BARBER, B.M. and T. ODEAN, 2001. Boys Will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment*. Quarterly Journal of Economics. [Cited by 570] (76.85/year)
  2. KYLE, A.S. and F.A. WANG, 1997. Speculation Duopoly with Agreement to Disagree: Can Overconfidence Survive the Market Test?. JOURNAL OF FINANCE-NEW YORK-. [Cited by 225] (19.71/year)
  3. CAMERER, C. and D. LOVALLO, 1999. Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach. AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW. [Cited by 378] (40.14/year)
  4. OSKAMP, S., 1965. OVERCONFIDENCE IN CASE-STUDY JUDGMENTS.. J Consult Psychol. [Cited by 372] (8.57/year)
  5. JUSLIN, P., 1994. The Overconfidence Phenomenon as a Consequence of Informal Experimenter-Guided Selection of Almanac …. ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND HUMAN DECISION PROCESSES. [Cited by 172] (11.93/year)
  6. MALMENDIER, U. and G. TATE, 2005. CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment. The Journal of Finance. [Cited by 292] (85.46/year)
  7. RUSSO, J.E. and P.J.H. SCHOEMAKER, 1992. Managing overconfidence. Sloan Management Review. [Cited by 177] (10.78/year)
  8. DANIEL, K.D., D. HIRSHLEIFER and A. SUBRAHMANYAM, 2001. Overconfidence, Arbitrage, and Equilibrium Asset Pricing. The Journal of Finance. [Cited by 246] (33.17/year)
  9. SCHEINKMAN, J.A. and W. XIONG, 2003. Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles. Journal of Political Economy. [Cited by 256] (47.26/year)
  10. DANIEL, K.D., D.A. HIRSHLEIFER and A. SUBRAHMANYAM, A Theory of Overconfidence, Self-Attribution, and Security Market Under-and Over-reactions. papers.ssrn.com. [Cited by 247] (?/year)

Best Books

  1. Kahneman, Slovic and Tversky (1982) includes four chapters on overconfidence: "Part VI discusses the calibration of probability assessors and documents the prevalent phenomenon of overconfidence in prediction and explanation."
  2. Gilovich, Griffin and Kahneman (2002) includes four chapters on "Forecasting, Confidence, and Calibration".
  3. Nofsinger(2001) includes a chapter on "Overconfidence" and a chapter on "Overconfidence and Investing".
  4. Kahneman and Tversky (2000) (14 pages).
  5. Chapter 19 of Plous (1993) is on overconfidence.
  6. Chapter 6 of Belsky and Gilovich (1999), "The Ego Trap", is on overconfidence.
  7. Shefrin (2000) (around 10 pages in total).
  8. Piattelli-Palmarini (1994) includes 4 pages on overconfidence.
  9. Montier (2002) (about 3 pages in total).

Cultural Differences in Overconfidence

In summary, Asians (excluding Japanese) exhibit greater than average overconfidence.