Firm specific and macro herding by professional and amateur investors and their effects on market volatility

Itzhak Venezia, Amrut Nashikkar, and Zur Shapira

We find a herding tendency among both amateur and professional investors and conclude that the propensity to herd is lower in the professionals. These results are obtained both when we consider herding into individual stocks and herding into stocks in general. Herding depends on the firm's systematic risk and size, and the professionals are less sensitive to these variables. The differences between the amateurs and the professionals may be attributable to the latter's superior financial training. Most of the results are consistent with the theory that herding is information-based. We also find that the herding behavior of the two groups is a persistent phenomenon, and that it is positively and significantly correlated with stock market returns' volatility. Finally, herding, mainly by amateurs, causes market volatility in the Granger causality sense.

August, 2011
Published in: 
Journal of Banking & Finance 35 (2011) 1599–1609