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Behavioral Portfolio Theory

Hersh Shefrin and Meir Statman
The Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Vol. 35, No. 2 (Jun., 2000), pp. 127-151
DOI: 10.2307/2676187
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2676187
Page Count: 25
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Behavioral Portfolio Theory
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Abstract

We develop a positive behavioral portfolio theory (BPT) and explore its implications for portfolio construction and security design. The optimal portfolios of BPT investors resemble combinations of bonds and lottery tickets, consistent with Friedman and Savage's (1948) observation. We compare the BPT efficient frontier with the mean-variance efficient frontier and show that, in general, the two frontiers do not coincide. Optimal BPT portfolios are also different from optimal CAPM portfolios. In particular, the CAPM two-fund separation does not hold in BPT. We present BPT in a single mental account version (BPT-SA) and a multiple mental account version (BPT-MA). BPT-SA investors integrate their portfolios into a single mental account, while BPT-MA investors segregate their portfolios into several mental accounts. BPT-MA portfolios resemble layered pyramids, where layers are associated with aspirations. We explore a two-layer portfolio where the low aspiration layer is designed to avoid poverty while the high aspiration layer is designed for a shot at riches.

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