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The University of Southampton
EconomicsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

1702 Informative Social Interactions (Luc Arrondel, Hector Calvo-Pardo, Chryssi Giannitsarou & Michael Haliassos)

Authors: Luc Arrondel (Paris School of Economics), Hector Calvo-Pardo (University of Southampton), Chryssi Giannitsarou (University of Cambridge), Michael Haliassos (Goethe University) 

Paper number 1702


We design, field and exploit novel survey data, from a representative sample of the French population in December 2014 and May 2015 to provide insights regarding social interactions and whether they are informative for financial decisions, or they encourage imitation, mindful or mindless. We provide a model where purely informative social interactions influence subjective expectations of future stock market returns and demand for investing in stocks, and find strong support for the presence of informative social interactions. The extent to which the respondent's financial circle is informed about or participates in stockholding appears to influence perceptions of recent stock returns and, only through them, expectations of future returns. Controlling for subjective expectations, stock market participation and the conditional portfolio share are positively influenced by the extent to which the financial circle is informed about or participating in the stock market. Alongside informative social interactions with the respondent's financial circle, we also find some evidence of mindless imitation of stock market participation observed in the outer social circle. These findings suggest that informative social interactions are significant and create a social multiplier for financial education and information, even though the potential for mindless imitation is also present.


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