Stock market expectations of Dutch households

Despite its importance for the analysis of life-cycle behavior and, in particular, retirement planning, stock ownership by private households is poorly understood. Among other approaches to investigate these puzzles, recent research has started to elicit private households’ expectations of stock market returns. This paper reports findings from a study that collected data over a two-year period both on households’ stock market expectations (subjective probabilities of gains or losses) and on whether they own stocks. We document substantial heterogeneity in financial market expectations. Expectations are correlated with stock ownership. Over the twoyears of our data, stock market prices increased, and expectations of future stock market price changes also increased, lending support to the view that expectations are influenced by recent stock gains or losses.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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