Past returns and the perceived Sharpe ratio

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We find that human perception contradicts the market efficiency assertions that highexpected returns are accompanied by high risk and that past returns are not correlatedwith future returns. A survey of investors reveals that the last month realized returns arepositively correlated with next month perceived returns and that they are negatively correlatedwith perceived risk. Neither expected return nor perceived risk captures the entireeffect. Thus, in the human mind the “perceived Sharpe ratio” is positively correlated withshort-term past returns. The effect does not depend on gender, education, income, andportfolio value, but it is more profound among older investors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-167
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • expected return
  • perceived risk
  • perceived Sharpe ratio
  • market efficiency
  • random walk

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