XXV Edition

1-2 December 2016"

Exposure to Bankers: Networks and Stock Market Participation

Borgers Arian, Maastricht University
Pownall Rachel, Maastricht University and Tilburg University
Raes Louis, Tilburg University

In this paper we investigate the importance of acquaintance networks for financial decisions by households. We construct a variable capturing the expected proximity or social closeness to a subpopulation of financially savvy people using an over dispersed Poisson model. This measure captures the exposure to people with financial knowledge in an investor’s acquaintance network. We find that investors with a higher exposure to financial savvy people are more likely to invest in stocks. This holds after controlling for a wide range of known stock market participation determinants. Moreover when restricting to households with elevated levels of trust or wealth the impact of exposure to financial savvy people increases. Our main findings continue to hold in several analyses to uncover an exogenous effect from proximity on stock market participation. Furthermore we show the importance of acquaintance networks extends to other financial decisions as well.

Area: Financial Education

Keywords: Networks; Stock market participation; Household finance;

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