Witnessing stock-market history in the making creates a vivid story, but does not provide valuable information. However, finance professionals extrapolate from personally witnessed returns, which we show by using a unique dataset about the timing of their career start in the finance industry. This result is robust when controlling for all publicly available information and other time-fixed effects as well as interpersonal differences. Additionally, we find that returns witnessed early in the career are more formative than those witnessed recently. Finally, among the potential channels through which witnessed returns might affect expected returns, a judgmental bias appears most plausible.


Hoffmann, Arvid
Iliewa, Zwetelina
Jaroszek, Lena


Finance Professionals, Expected Returns, Non-informative Observations, Early Career Experiences