Research

Research


Publications

Journal Articles
Heterogeneity of Beliefs and Trading Behavior: A Reexamination
Füllbrunn, S., Huber, C., Eckel, C., Weitzel, U.
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming
Combining experimental data sets from seven individual studies, including 255 asset markets with 2,031 participants, and 36,326 short-term price forecasts, we analyze the role of heterogeneity of beliefs in the organization of trading behavior by reproducing and reconsidering earlier experimental findings. Our results confirm prior evidence that price expectations affect trading behavior. However, heterogeneity in beliefs does not seem to drive overpricing and asset market bubbles, as suggested by earlier studies, and we find no indication of short-term beliefs being better determinants of trading behavior than longer-term beliefs.
2024
Reproducibility in Management Science
Fišar, M., Greiner, B., Huber, C., Katok, E., Ozkes A. I., Management Science Reproducibility Collaboration
Management Science, 70(3), pp. 1343-1356
With the help of more than 700 reviewers, we assess the reproducibility of nearly 500 articles published in the journal Management Science before and after the introduction of a new Data and Code Disclosure policy in 2019. When considering only articles for which data accessibility and hardware and software requirements were not an obstacle for reviewers, the results of more than 95% of articles under the new disclosure policy could be fully or largely computationally reproduced. However, for 29% of articles, at least part of the data set was not accessible to the reviewer. Considering all articles in our sample reduces the share of reproduced articles to 68%. These figures represent a significant increase compared with the period before the introduction of the disclosure policy, where only 12% of articles voluntarily provided replication materials, of which 55% could be (largely) reproduced. Substantial heterogeneity in reproducibility rates across different fields is mainly driven by differences in data set accessibility. Other reasons for unsuccessful reproduction attempts include missing code, unresolvable code errors, weak or missing documentation, and software and hardware requirements and code complexity. Our findings highlight the importance of journal code and data disclosure policies and suggest potential avenues for enhancing their effectiveness.
2023
On Social Norms and Observability in (Dis)honest Behavior
Huber, C., Litsios, C., Nieper, A., Promann, T.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 212, pp. 1086-1099
Transparency and observability have been shown to foster ethical decision-making as people tend to comply with an underlying norm for honesty. However, in situations implying a social norm for dishonesty, this might be different. In a die-rolling experiment, we investigate whether observability can also have detrimental effects. We thus introduce a norm nudge toward honesty or dishonesty and make participants’ decisions observable and open to the judgement of other participants in order to manipulate the observability of people’s decisions as well as the underlying social norm. We find that a nudge toward honesty indeed increases the level of honesty, suggesting that such a norm nudge can successfully induce behavioral change. Our introduction of social image concerns via observability, however, does not affect honesty and does not interact with our norm nudge.
Competition and moral behavior: A meta-analysis of forty-five crowd-sourced experimental designs
Huber, C., Dreber, A., Huber, J., Johannesson, M., Kirchler, M., Weitzel, U., ..., Holzmeister, F.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(23)
Does competition affect moral behavior? This fundamental question has been debated among leading scholars for centuries, and more recently, it has been tested in experimental studies yielding a body of rather inconclusive empirical evidence. A potential source of ambivalent empirical results on the same hypothesis is design heterogeneity—variation in true effect sizes across various reasonable experimental research protocols. To provide further evidence on whether competition affects moral behavior and to examine whether the generalizability of a single experimental study is jeopardized by design heterogeneity, we invited independent research teams to contribute experimental designs to a crowd-sourced project. In a large-scale online data collection, 18,123 experimental participants were randomly allocated to 45 randomly selected experimental designs out of 95 submitted designs. We find a small adverse effect of competition on moral behavior in a meta-analysis of the pooled data. The crowd-sourced design of our study allows for a clean identification and estimation of the variation in effect sizes above and beyond what could be expected due to sampling variance. We find substantial design heterogeneity—estimated to be about 1.6 times as large as the average standard error of effect size estimates of the 45 research designs—indicating that the informativeness and generalizability of results based on a single experimental design are limited. Drawing strong conclusions about the underlying hypotheses in the presence of substantive design heterogeneity requires moving toward much larger data collections on various experimental designs testing the same hypothesis.
Experiments in Finance: A Survey of Historical Trends
Huber, C., Kirchler, M.
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, 37, 100737
Experiments complement other methods in identifying causal relationships and measuring behavioral deviations from theoretical predictions. While the experimental method has long been central in many scientific disciplines, it was almost nonexistent in finance until the 1980s. To survey the development of experiments in finance, we compiled a comprehensive account of experimental studies published in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Review of Finance, Journal of Quantitative and Financial Analysis, and Journal of Banking and Finance, and experimental finance studies published in the top 5 journals in economics. With this novel dataset, we identified historical trends in experimental finance. Since the first experiments were published in finance journals in the 1980s, especially in the last 20 years, the share of experimental publications in these journals has markedly increased. In this article, we report trends toward descriptive, individual decision, and field experiments.
2022
Volatility shocks and investment behavior
Huber, C., Huber, J., Kirchler, M.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 194, pp. 56-70
We investigate how volatility shocks affect investors risk-taking, risk perception and forecasts. We run artefactual field experiments with two participant pools (finance professionals and students), differing in (i) the direction of the shock (down, up, or a neutral case) and (ii) the presentation format of the time series (prices or returns). Professionals investments are negatively associated with the price change and performance of the stock and their perceived risk increases to a similar extent following shocks of all directions. Students risk perception, in contrast, is more closely related to the frequency of negative returns rather than an increase in volatility.
2021
Market shocks and professionals' investment behavior — Evidence from the COVID-19 crash
Huber, C., Huber, J., Kirchler, M.
Journal of Banking & Finance, 133, 106247
We investigate how the experience of extreme events, such as the COVID-19 market crash, influence risk-taking behavior. To isolate changes in risk-taking from other factors, we ran controlled experiments with finance professionals in December 2019 and March 2020. We observe that their investments in the experiment were 12 percent lower in March 2020 than in December 2019, although their price expectations had not changed, and although they considered the experimental asset less risky during the crash than before. This lower perceived risk is likely due to adaptive normalization, as volatility during the shock is compared to volatility experienced in real markets (which was low in December 2019, but very high in March 2020). Lower investments during the crash can be supported by higher risk aversion, not by changes in beliefs.
2020
Bad bankers no more? Truth-telling and (dis)honesty in the finance industry
Huber, C., Huber, J.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 180, pp. 472-493
Worries about unethical behavior are a recurring issue in the finance industry, which has inspired a number of recent studies. We contribute to this ongoing discussion by investigating preferences for truthfulness within the finance industry in a controlled experiment with 415 financial professionals (and 270 students as a control group). Participants have to report one of two numbers, of which one is true, the other false, where truth-telling is costly. In three main treatments we vary the situational context of subjects’ decisions (abstract, neutral, finance context) by applying differently framed instructions. We find that contexts matter for financial professionals: they act more honestly in a financial context and a neutral context than in an abstract situation, while for a control group we find no such differences. Further variations on the financial decision situation do not affect financial professionals’ honesty.
Bubbles and financial professionals
Weitzel, U., Huber, C., Huber, J., Kirchler, M., Lindner, F., Rose, J.
Review of Financial Studies, 33(6), pp. 2659–2696
The efficiency of financial markets and their potential to produce bubbles are central topics in academic and professional debates. Yet, little is known about the contribution of financial professionals to price efficiency. We run 116 experimental markets with 412 professionals and 502 students. We find that professional markets with bubble drivers – capital inflows or high initial capital supply – are susceptible to bubbles, although they are more efficient than student markets. In mixed markets with students, bubbles also occur, but professionals act as price stabilizers. We show that heterogeneous price beliefs drive overpricing, especially in bubble-prone market environments.
2019
Design-features of bubble-prone experimental asset markets with a constant FV
Huber, C., Bindra, P.C., Kleinlercher, D.
Journal of the Economic Science Association, 5(2), pp. 197-209
Experimental asset markets with a constant fundamental value (FV) have grown in importance in recent years. A methodological examination of the robustness of experimental results in such a setting which has been shown to produce bubbles, however, is lacking. In a laboratory experiment with 280 subjects, we investigate whether specific design features are sufficient to influence experimental results. In detail, we (1) vary the visual representation of the price chart, and (2) provide subjects with full information about the FV process. We find overvaluation and bubble formation to be reduced when trading prices are displayed at the upper end of the price chart. Surprisingly, we do not find any effects when subjects have full information about the FV process.
The effect of experts' and laypeople's forecasts on others' stock market forecasts
Huber, C., Huber, J., Hueber, L.
Journal of Banking & Finance, 109, 105662
With a large-scale online experiment with 1593 participants from the U.S. and the U.K. we explore whether and how people working in the finance industry and laypeople from the general population are influenced by information on other people’s forecasts when making forecasts on the future development of two indices and two stocks. We find that (i) laypeople’s forecasts are strongly influenced by information they get on other subjects’ forecasts, while financial professionals are much less influenced by information signals; (ii) signals by financial professionals influence all subject groups more than forecasts by laypeople; (iii) we observe a home bias in all subject groups, which can be mitigated by information signals; (iv) all subject groups expect lower forecast errors for financial professionals than for laypeople, hence we find evidence for trust in experts.
oTree: The bubble game
Huber, C.
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, 22, pp. 3-6
Bubbles and speculative behavior have been documented in real-world and experimental asset markets alike. Moinas and Pouget (2013) introduce the bubble game representing a sequential market with both bubble and no-bubble equilibria, in which speculative behavior can be analyzed using concepts from game theory. This article presents a ready-to-use software application for oTree (Chen et al., 2016) which allows to easily conduct the game in various settings within a modern web-programming framework. Researchers can adapt the game to their needs in a straightforward way by modifying thoroughly-documented variables in a single file. The software module supports responsive graphical designs and is prepared for multilingual use on any device with a web browser, allowing the implementation in the field, the laboratory, the classroom, or online.
Scale matters: Risk perception, return expectations, and investment propensity under different scalings
Huber, C., Huber, J.
Experimental Economics, 22(1), pp. 76-100
With a novel experimental design we investigate whether risk perception, return expectations, and investment propensity are influenced by the scale of the vertical axis in charts. We explore this for two presentation formats, namely return charts and price charts, where we depict low- and high-volatility assets with distinct trends. We find that varying the scale strongly affects people’s risk perception, as a narrower scale of the vertical axis leads to significantly higher perceived riskiness of an asset even if the underlying volatility is the same. Furthermore, past returns predict future return expectations almost perfectly. In our setting perceived profitability was considered more important than perceived riskiness when making investment choices. Overall we show that adapting the scale of a chart makes it easier to recognize yearly return variations within a single security, but at the same time makes it harder to identify differences between dissimilar securities. This is something regulators should be aware of and take into account in the rules they set.
Book Chapters
Experimental Finance and Financial Professionals
Füllbrunn, S., Huber, C., König-Kersting, C.
2022. In Füllbrunn S. & Haruvy, E. (Eds.), Handbook of Experimental Finance (pp. 64–72). Edward Elgar Publishing
A Critical Perspective on the Conceptualization of Risk in Behavioral and Experimental Finance
Holzmeister, F., Huber, C., Palan, S.
2022. In Füllbrunn S. & Haruvy, E. (Eds.), Handbook of Experimental Finance (pp. 408–413). Edward Elgar Publishing

Working Papers

Cooperation among an anonymous group protected Bitcoin during failures of decentralization
(with A. Blackburn, Y. Eliaz, M.S. Shamim, D. Weisz, G. Seshadri, K. Kim, S. Hang, E. Lieberman Aiden)
Bitcoin is a digital currency designed to rely on a decentralized, trustless network of anonymous agents. Using a pseudonymous-address-linking procedure that achieves >99% sensitivity and >99% specificity, we reveal that between launch (January 3rd, 2009), and when the price reached $1 (February 9th, 2011), most bitcoin was mined by only sixty-four agents. This was due to the rapid emergence of Pareto distributions in bitcoin income, producing such extensive resource centralization that almost all contemporary bitcoin addresses can be connected to these top agents by a chain of six transactions. Centralization created a social dilemma. Attackers could routinely exploit bitcoin via a "51% attack", making it possible for them to repeatedly spend the same bitcoins. Yet doing so would harm the community. Strikingly, we find that potential attackers always chose to cooperate instead. We model this dilemma using an N-player Centipede game in which anonymous players can choose to exploit, and thereby undermine, an appreciating good. Combining theory and economic experiments, we show that, even when individual payoffs are unchanged, cooperation is more frequent when the game is played by an anonymous group. Although bitcoin was designed to rely on a decentralized, trustless network of anonymous agents, its early success rested instead on cooperation among a small group of altruistic founders.
Experimenting with Financial Professionals
(with C. König-Kersting, M.M. Marini)
Financial professionals play a key role in financial markets and the financial industry as a whole. Researchers in experimental economics and finance have therefore started to employ financial professionals as experimental participants. We examine this recent development in the field by reviewing 40 studies from the time period 1986--2022 which compare experimental results from samples of professionals in the finance industry to those from other samples. The considered studies cover a wide array of issues relating to the finance industry, such as risk and uncertainty, asset markets, and financial forecasting, among others. With this comprehensive review, we contribute to recent discussions about external validity and generalizability, aim to synthesize the relevant experimental results, and discuss the key methodological considerations in experimenting with financial professionals.
Individual Attitudes and Market Dynamics Towards Imprecision
(with J. Rose)
In situations where both the magnitude of gains and losses as well as the probability distribution over these realizations is uncertain, imprecision is an inherent feature of decision-making. While imprecision has been shown to affect individual valuations, many decisions are made in market settings with potentially different implications. We thus examine the impact of imprecision, first, in an individual decision task, and second, in experimental asset markets-with no imprecision (risk), imprecision in probabilities (ambiguity), imprecision in outcomes, and full imprecision. We find imprecision seeking in outcomes in people's individual attitudes, but these preferences do not withstand market dynamics. Nevertheless, we observe imprecision aversion in probabilities at the end of trading, suggesting that ambiguity aversion, in contrast, prevails in experimental markets.

Selected Work-in-Progress

Large Gains, Small Losses? (Mis)representing Returns in Financial Advice
(with J. Rose)
Competitiveness and Speculative Behavior
Mining Centralization in Cryptocurrency Markets: A Laboratory Experiment
(with A. Usvitskiy, A. Belianin, and A. Didenko)
Management Science Reproducibility Project
(with M. Fišar, B. Greiner, E. Katok, and A. Ozkes)

Selected Presentations

  • 03/2024 ▪ International Workshop on Theoretical and Experimental Economics, Osaka University ▪ Osaka, Japan
  • 11/2023 ▪ MUES Research Seminar, Masaryk University ▪ Brno, Czech Republic
  • 09/2023 ▪ ESA 2023 European Meeting ▪ Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 08/2023 ▪ EEA-ESEM 2023, Annual Congress of the European Economic Association ▪ Barcelona, Spain
  • 06/2023 ▪ Experimental Finance 2023 ▪ Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 05/2023 ▪ Young Economists' Meeting 2023 ▪ Brno, Czech Republic
  • 04/2023 ▪ Theory-Experimental Seminar, University of Alicante ▪ Alicante, Spain
  • 09/2022 ▪ 15th Australia and New Zealand Workshop on Experimental Economics (ANZWEE) ▪ Sydney, Australia
  • 08/2022 ▪ ESA 2022 European Meeting ▪ Bologna, Italy
  • 06/2022 ▪ 4th Behavioral Macroeconomics Workshop, Bamberg ▪ Online
  • 06/2022 ▪ Experimental Finance 2022 ▪ Bonn, Germany
  • 05/2022 ▪ Young Economists' Meeting 2022 ▪ Brno, Czech Republic
  • 01/2022 ▪ WU IMS Brownbag Seminar, WU Vienna ▪ Online
  • ...
  • 07/2021 ▪ ESA 2021 Global Online Around-the-Clock Meeting ▪ Online
  • 06/2021 ▪ Experimental Finance 2021 ▪ Online
  • 03/2021 ▪ WEAI Virtual International Conference ▪ Online
  • 09/2020 ▪ ESA 2020 Global Online Around-the-Clock Meeting ▪ Online
  • 02/2020 ▪ Experimental Finance 2020 North American Regional Conference ▪ Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • 10/2019 ▪ 3rd Annual Workshop, SFB F63 Credence Goods, Incentives and Behavior ▪ Innsbruck, Austria
  • 09/2019 ▪ ESA 2019 European Meeting ▪ Dijon, France
  • 06/2019 ▪ JDMx meeting 2019 ▪ Trento, Italy
  • 06/2019 ▪ Experimental Finance 2019 ▪ Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 06/2019 ▪ Maastricht Behavioral Economic Policy Symposium (M-BEPS) 2019 ▪ Maastricht, the Nethelands
  • 05/2019 ▪ International Meeting on Experimental and Behavioral Social Sciences (IMEBESS) ▪ Utrecht, the Nethelands
  • 04/2019 ▪ Annual Meeting of the Austrian Economic Association (NOeG) ▪ Graz, Austria
  • 11/2018 ▪ Austrian Working Group on Banking and Finance ▪ Salzburg, Austria
  • 11/2018 ▪ 2nd Annual Workshop, SFB F63 Credence Goods, Incentives and Behavior ▪ Innsbruck, Austria
  • 09/2018 ▪ Austrian Experimental Economics Workshop 2018 ▪ Innsbruck, Austria
  • 09/2018 ▪ Research in Behavioral Finance Conference ▪ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 08/2018 ▪ EEA-ESEM 2018, Annual Congress of the European Economic Association ▪ Cologne, Germany
  • 06/2018 ▪ ESA 2018 World Meeting ▪ Berlin, Germany
  • 06/2018 ▪ eeecon Empirical and Experimental Economics Workshop, University of Innsbruck ▪ Innsbruck, Austria
  • 06/2018 ▪ Behavioural Finance Working Group Conference, Queen Mary University of London ▪ London, UK
  • 12/2017 ▪ Research Seminar, Chapman University ▪ Orange, CA, USA
  • 10/2017 ▪ PhD Seminar, Johannes-Kepler-University Linz ▪ Linz, Austria
  • 09/2017 ▪ ESA 2017 European Meeting ▪ Vienna, Austria

Awards, Grants & Research Funding:


Refereeing:

Behavior Research Methods, European Economic Review, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Banking & Finance, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Journal of Economic Psychology, Journal of Political Economy Microeconomics, Management Science, Southern Economic Journal
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

© 2024 Christoph Huber