Recent evolution of italian households’ equity portfolio choices: an empirical investigation
AbstractWe study Italian households’ portfolio choices, with a special focus on equity investments, by analysing jointly time series and cross-sectional portfolio data. We investigate the temporal evolution of the actual composition of Italian households’ investments in order to explain their portfolio choices and to detect possible determinants of the observed disequilibria phenomena. Moreover, we model the stock market participation choice by using probit regression techniques and we test for parameter stability over time. Instability of participation parameters and a peculiar evolution of Italian households’ portfolios pointed out by our concurrent analysis of cross-sectional and time series data seem to confirm the distance of Italian households’ financial decisions from the rational choice predicted by the Markowitz model. In particular, we find that the housing market bubbles interact strongly with the stock market and financial institutions seem to be unable to advise investors suggesting optimal portfolio choices. The deep reason behind these facts may be the bounded education of investors, in particular the low financial literacy of Italian households.
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