Ambiguity aversion and the puzzle of own-company stock in pension plans

Boyle, P, Uppal, R and Wang, T (2003) Ambiguity aversion and the puzzle of own-company stock in pension plans. Working Paper. London Business School IFA Working Paper.


In a defined contribution pension plan, employees make the investment decisions since they ultimately bear the investment risks. It has been shown empirically that, whenever the firm's own stock is one of the available assets, many employees invest a significant fraction of their discretionary contributions in the stock of their employer. Moreover, the proportion allocated to owncompany stock increases as the volatility of the company's stock decreases. We analyse this puzzle using a framework based on ambiguity aversion when making decisions in the presence of model misspecification. Using this framework we derive a simple model where agents hold own company stock in equilibirum. Our calibration results indicate that if the investor thinks that the expected return on owncompany stock will outperform other firms in the market by just 1% to 2%, then this will lead to an investment in owncompany stock of about 20% to 30%.

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Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subject Areas: Finance
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 15:19
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2023 11:21

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