May 23, 2017

Elm News

Our Coin Flipping Research in the Journal of Portfolio Management

The research we conducted into how people bet on a computer-generated coin-flip they are told has a 60% chance of landing on heads was published in the Spring 2017 edition of the Journal of Portfolio Management.

In 1986, Gary Brinson and his co-researchers, in their paper “Determinants of Portfolio Performance,” found that investors’ decisions about asset allocation dominated any choices they made about individual securities or managers.

Over the long term, your decision about how much to allocate to risk assets (e.g. 75%, 50% or 25%) is by far the highest impact investment decision you’ll make.

Our coin-flipping experiment brings attention to the fact that many of us, even those who study finance and investing at university, struggle with how to think about these important decisions.

We first circulated our research on coin flipping back in October 2016, but if you haven’t read the original note, we hope you’ll enjoy this more up-to-date version in the Journal of Portfolio Management here.