Pszichológia és a pénzügyi válság

Cour­se­rán hall­ga­tok most egy kur­zust, igen ambí­ci­ó­zu­san mind­össze az a címe, hogy Finan­cial Mar­kets. Gya­kor­la­ti­lag min­den­ről szól, amit pénz­pi­a­cok alatt érte­ni lehet, érték­pa­pí­rok, ban­kok, sza­bá­lyo­zás, ingat­la­nok, bár­mi, amit venni/eladni lehet. Néhány hét után esett csak le, hogy a pro­fesszor bácsi (Robert J. Schil­ler), aki tart­ja az egé­szet, nem egy túl nagy kopo­nya, tavaly pél­dá­ul meg­kap­ta a köz­gaz­da­sá­gi Nobel-díjat.

Egy szó mint száz, a kur­zus maga igen jó, a tanár pedig igen hite­les. Már kicsit bánom, hogy nem fogad­tam meg Regi taná­csát, hogy kap­jak róla hiva­ta­los cer­ti­fi­ca­te-et.

De nem is ez a lényeg.

Pár hete volt egy érde­kes házi fel­adat. Egy rövid, tizen­egy­né­hány olda­las paper (pépör, pap­per) alap­ján kel­lett írni egy max. 500 sza­vas esszét, amit aztán az osz­tály­tár­sak érté­kel­tek. Mivel 10/10-et kap­tam rá, úgy gon­dol­tam, hogy ide rakom, mert ilyen nagy siker­ben nem volt részem a dip­lo­ma­vé­dés óta (az Óbu­dai Egye­tem nyil­ván nem szá­mít).

A cikk: Nic­ho­las Bar­be­ris: Psy­cho­logy and the Finan­cial Cris­is of 2007–2008

Az esszém:

Mr. Bar­be­ris’ paper is focus­ing on three aspects of the cris­is: the sur­ge in hou­se pri­ces, bank’s lar­ge posit­ions in sub­p­ri­me lin­ked secu­ri­ti­es; and the dec­line in value of many risk asset clas­ses. To study tho­se, he is using psy­cho­logy-bas­ed mechan­isms, espe­ci­ally over-ext­ra­po­la­ti­on of past pri­ce changes; and beli­ef mani­pu­la­ti­on.

The sur­ge in hous­ing pri­ces, as Mr. Bar­be­ris expla­ins, was pro­ba­bly cau­s­ed by the abo­ve ment­ion­ed over-ext­ra­po­la­ti­on: fore­cast is using expe­ri­en­ce from the past, but the samp­le is too small, and the fore­cast is rea­ch­ing too far into the futu­re. In case of hous­ing pri­ces, this hap­pe­ned in many dif­fe­rent cas­es. Buyers paid too much for the hou­se, beca­u­se they tho­ught it will worth much more in the futu­re. Len­ders, who are pro­vi­ding the money for the purc­ha­se, were also over-ext­ra­po­lat­ing the pri­ces, so they lent more than they sho­uld. They could do that, beca­u­se the­se sub­p­ri­me loans were very att­rac­tive to inves­tors, who bought the secu­ri­ti­zed pro­ducts beca­u­se they over-ext­ra­po­la­ted the hous­ing pri­ces. And the att­rac­ti­ve­ness of the­se secu­ri­ti­es was pro­vi­ded by rat­ing orga­ni­za­tions, who were over-ext­ra­po­lat­ing the inc­re­a­se of pri­ces aga­in. As a result, more people were able to spend more money on over-valu­ed hous­es then desi­rab­le.

The lar­ge posit­ions in sub­p­ri­me-lin­ked secu­ri­ti­es that many banks had accu­mu­la­ted, as it is writ­ten in the paper, could be cau­s­ed by beli­ef mani­pu­la­ti­on. First of all, the mortgage tra­ders might mani­pu­la­ted the­ir beli­efs to remo­ve the­ir dis­so­nance, which was cau­s­ed by the­ir tho­ughts abo­ut sub­p­ri­me-lin­ked secu­ri­ti­es being very ris­ky. The same beli­ef mani­pu­la­ti­on could pro­ba­bly hap­pen at cre­dit risk agen­ci­es. Everyone wan­ted the­se assets to have low risk, and when analysts were eva­luat­ing the risk of the­se pro­ducts, cal­cu­lat­ing a high risk might cau­s­ed dis­so­nance in them. To sol­ve that, beli­ef mani­pu­la­ti­on hel­ped them to think that the­se secu­ri­ti­es were not so ris­ky.

The dra­ma­tic dec­line in value of many ris­ky asset clas­ses is expla­ined with two psy­cho­log­i­cal amp­li­fi­ca­ti­on mechan­isms, loss avers­ion and ambi­gu­ity avers­ion. Loss avers­ion, when we are tal­king abo­ut the sub­p­ri­me mortgage cris­is, means that when inves­tors star­ted to lose money beca­u­se of dec­re­a­se of hous­ing pri­ces, they wan­ted to get a rid of other ris­ky assets. This cau­s­ed pri­ce reduc­ti­on not just for mortgage bac­ked secu­ri­ti­es, but also other ris­ky pro­ducts. Ambi­gu­ity avers­ion means that when the hous­ing pri­ces were fal­ling, inves­tors tho­ught that they are less com­pe­tent as they were not for­ese­e­ing this hap­pe­ning. Beca­u­se of that, they were sel­l­ing the­se pro­ducts, as they wan­ted to redu­ce the­ir risk in assets they didn’t under­stand so well any­mo­re. Also, losing com­pe­tency could also cau­se losing self-con­fi­den­ce, which could cau­se the same hap­pe­ning for other assets.

Bes­ide many other rea­sons, it is pos­sib­le that psy­cho­log­i­cal fac­tors were also play­ing a big role in the finan­cial cris­is. To pre­vent a cris­is in the futu­re, it is impor­tant to work on both ins­ti­tu­ti­o­nal and psy­cho­log­i­cal changes.

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