Inflation and Individual Investors' Behavior: Evidence from the German Hyperinflation

74 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021 Last revised: 6 Nov 2021

See all articles by Fabio Braggion

Fabio Braggion

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Felix von Meyerinck

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance

Nic Schaub

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Date Written: August 4, 2021

Abstract

This paper analyzes how individual investors respond to inflation. We introduce a unique dataset containing information on local inflation and security portfolios of more than 2,000 clients of a German bank between 1920 and 1924, covering the hyperinflation. We find that individual investors buy less (sell more) stocks when facing higher local inflation. This effect is more pronounced for less sophisticated investors. We also document a positive relation between local inflation and forgone returns following stock sales. Our findings are consistent with individual investors suffering from money illusion. Alternative explanations such as consumption needs are unlikely to drive our results.

Keywords: inflation, investor behavior, individual investors, behavioral biases, money illusion

JEL Classification: D14, E31, G11, G41, N14

Suggested Citation

Braggion, Fabio and von Meyerinck, Felix and Schaub, Nic, Inflation and Individual Investors' Behavior: Evidence from the German Hyperinflation (August 4, 2021). University of St.Gallen, School of Finance Research Paper No. 2021/07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3802488 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3802488

Fabio Braggion

Tilburg University - Tilburg University School of Economics and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Felix Von Meyerinck (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance ( email )

Unterer Graben 21
St.Gallen, CH-9000
Switzerland

Nic Schaub

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management ( email )

Burgplatz 2
Vallendar, 56179
Germany

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