Savings selectivity bias, subjective expectations and stock market participation

Yosef Bonaparte and Frank Fabozzi
Applied Financial Economics, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp. 119-130.

Studies of household stock market participation report low participation rates. The explanations cited are that the fixed costs associated with participation and high risk aversion discourage households from buying stocks. However, the low participation rate findings are unchallenged. We argue that because prior studies fail to recognize that not all households save, there exists a selection bias when estimating the household participation rate. After correcting for this selection bias, as well as accounting for the influence of subjective expectations on market participation, we show that the unconditional probability of participating in the stock market would increase twofold.