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Investor Overconfidence and the Forward Discount Puzzle

Han, Bing and Hirshleifer, David and Wang, Tracy (2005): Investor Overconfidence and the Forward Discount Puzzle.

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Abstract

This paper offers an explanation for the forward discount puzzle in foreign exchange markets based upon investor overconfidence. In our model, overconfident individuals overreact to their information about future inflation differential. The spot and the forward exchange rates differentially reflect such overreaction; as a result, the forward discount forecasts reversal in the spot rate. With plausible parameter values, the model explains the magnitude of the forward discount puzzle and stylized facts about how the forward discount bias varies with time horizon and time-series versus cross-sectional test method. Furthermore, the model generates new empirical predictions about the relation between the forward discount bias to foreign exchange trading volume, exchange rate volatility and predictability, as well as the degree of violation of the relative Purchasing Power Parity.

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